Asaf Messerer


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Messerer, Asaf Mikhailovich

 

Born Nov. 6 (19), 1903, in Vilnius. Soviet ballet dancer, choreographer, and teacher. People’s Artist of the USSR (1976) and Honored Art Worker of the Lithuanian SSR (1953). Member of the CPSU since 1944.

Upon graduating from the Moscow Choreographic School in 1921, Messerer was accepted into the ballet company of the Bolshoi Theater where he was a student of A. A. Gorskii and V. D. Tikhomirov. He has contributed much to expanding the technique of male dancing, thus enriching and making more complex the “vocabulary” of ballet dancing. His best roles included Colin in Hertel’s La Fille mal gardee, Basil in Minkus’ Don Quixote, Philippe in Asaf ev’s The Flames of Paris, the Acrobat in Gliere’s The Red Poppy, and the title role in Stravinsky’s Petrouchka. His concert divertissement The Soccer Player (or The Football Player), to the music of A. N. Tsfasman, was particularly popular.

Messerer choreographed his first work in 1926. He began teaching in 1921 and from 1923 to 1960 taught at the Moscow Choreographic School. Since 1946 he has been conducting a classe de perfectionnement for ballet dancers of the Bolshoi Theater. A recipient of the State Prize of the USSR (1941, 1947), Messerer has been awarded three orders and various medals.

WORKS

Uroki klassicheskogo tantsa. [Moscow] 1967.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1930 she joined the Bolshoi Ballet where, according to Asaf Messerer, "Semyonova sparkled and dazzled, asserting the value of classical dance.
Asaf Messerer helped found the Bolshoi school of Ballet.
In Budapest she worked with Soviet ballet masters Asaf Messerer, Rostislav Zakharov, and Vasily Vainonen.
His teachers, Nikolai Tarassov and Alexei Varlamov, were direct links to the traditions of Russia's Imperial Ballet School, and Plissetski's uncle, Asaf Messerer (also one of Plissetski's teachers), wrote Classes in Classical Ballet, a comprehensive study of ballet technique that is still in use today.
In the Russian program I did Spring Waters (pictured, with Yury Yanowsky) by Asaf Messerer, a pas de deux with scary lifts and running around the stage with exuberant passion.
When I got stuck, I looked for ideas in books like Classical Ballet Technique by Gretchen Ward Warren and Classes in Classical Ballet by Asaf Messerer.
Every year the Paris Opera holds promotion examinations for its dancers--apart from the etoiles and the senior soloists--with a jury consisting of the Paris Opera administration, a delegation of dancers, and a few foreign outsiders, who in 1977 consisted of Kenneth MacMillan, Asaf Messerer, and myself.
Her mother was Rakhil Messerer, the film actress; her uncle was Asaf Messerer, one of the Bolshoi's leading teachers.
Rowan credits the high Russian attitude she developed under Pereyaslavec's tutelage as one of the reasons she was invited in 1975 to study with Asaf Messerer at the Bolshoi as an exchange ballerina to Russia.
My fellow foreign judges on this occasion were Asaf Messerer from the Bolshoi Ballet and Kenneth MacMillan from the Royal Ballet.