By Joel Lobenthal
Alla Osipenko is the gripping tale of 1 of history's maximum ballerinas, a brave insurgent who paid the cost for talking fact to the Soviet nation. She studied with Agrippina Vaganova, the main respected and influential of all Russian ballet teachers, and in 1950, she joined the Mariinsky (then-Kirov) Ballet, the place her strains, shapes, and events either exemplified the venerable traditions of Russian ballet and propelled these traditions ahead into uncharted and experimental nation-states.
She used to be the 1st of her iteration of Kirov stars to enchant the West while she danced in Paris in 1956. yet dancing for the institution had its downsides, and Osipenko's sharp tongue and marked independence, in addition to her almost-reckless flouting of Soviet principles for private and political behavior, quickly stumbled on her all yet quarantined in Russia. An the world over acclaimed ballerina on the peak of her occupation, she came upon that she might now need to succeed within the face of each try out through the Soviet kingdom and the Kirov management to humble her.
In Alla Osipenko, acclaimed dance author Joel Lobenthal tells Osipenko's tale for the 1st time in English, drawing on forty interviews with the prima ballerina, and tracing her existence from Classical darling to avant-garde insurgent. in the course of the booklet, Osipenko talks frankly and freely in a fashion that few Russians of her iteration have allowed themselves to. Her voice rises above the incidents as unhesitating and swish as her mythical adagios. Candid, irreverent, and, specially, self sufficient -- Osipenko and her tale open a window right into a interesting and little-discussed global.
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Additional info for Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet
De Maupassant’s A Life depressed her so much that after reading it she told her mother that she had decided that she was never going to get married. Once she came to the school librarian and asked him to help her choose something interesting to read. He gave her a children’s book, Plutonia, that was all about dinosaurs and mammals. She brought it back thinking, “What on earth did he give me? ” She showed the book to her literature teacher, who took her back to the school library and instructed the librarian to let her take out anything she wanted.
Grades or credits weren’t given. The teacher simply led them in discussions, free from any political cant: Young Pioneers were spared the indoctrination of the teenaged Komsomol and the adult Party. Three years after joining the school, she was finally able to attend the hallowed ballet academy on Rossi Street, a few minutes’ walk from her apartment. Crossing Nevsky Prospect into the Ekaterininsky garden, she’d walk around the colonnaded porch-front facades of the Alexandrinsky theater into Theater Street, built together with the Alexandrinsky in the 1830s by Italian architect Carlo Rossi.
A generation of young men, celebrating high school graduation on the night of June 21, a Saturday, the Summer Solstice, woke the next morning to discover that they would soon be on the battlefield. 2 World at War t h a n t h r e e million Axis troops attacked the USSR’s western borders from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. The Kremlin was caught completely unaware: Stalin believed that the mutual non-aggression pact he had signed with the Germans in August 1939 would stand.
Alla Osipenko: Beauty and Resistance in Soviet Ballet by Joel Lobenthal