Federal State Institution of Culture

Russian State
Art Library

"Art to help the arts"

On 22 January, the Exhibition ‘Two Goddesses. Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya’ Opened in RSAL

Date: 23.02.2021

Even in different tongues, the names of Galina Ulanova and Maya Plisetskaya are pronounced with equal admiration. Each at one time became the face not only of Russian ballet, but of the entire country. True celestials, who conquered the world with their art, they could not imagine their fate without dance.

There is no point in comparing the talents of the two great artists. Maya Plisetskaya wrote: ‘Oddly enough, we have never competed in roles. We are so different, North and South. For example, in Leonid Lavrovsky’s Stone Flower, she was Katerina, I was the Mistress of the Copper Mountain. In The Fountain of Bakhchisarai: she is Maria, I am Zarema. In Giselle: she is Giselle, I am Mirta. It is impossible to compare—the role is different. Everything is different.’

In 1956, 46-year-old Galina Ulanova shocked Europe and America by performing the roles of Giselle and Juliet. She continued to work at the Bolshoi Theatre for the rest of her life, and brought up a whole galaxy of outstanding stars.

Not only to ballet students, but to modern audiences as well, Maya Plisetskaya left her world-famous ‘Plisetskaya Style’. Ultimately, the dancer broke all concepts of creative longevity. At 50, she danced Maurice Béjart’s Bolero, at 60, she staged and performed the main role in the ballet TheLady with the Dog, and at 80, she took the stage in the choreographic composition of Ave Maya.

The exhibition introduces materials from RSAL’s collections: photographs of the dancers in private life and on stage, the programmes and booklets of performances, reviews from various years published in newspapers and magazines, and books and albums.