Kirov Ballet,one of the two major ballet companies of Russia, the other being the Bolshoi BalletBolshoi Ballet
, one of the principal ballet companies of Russia; part of the Bolshoi Theatre, which also includes Russia's premier opera company. The Bolshoi Ballet began as a dancing school for the Moscow Orphanage in 1773.
..... Click the link for more information. . In 1991 it was officially renamed the St. Petersburg Mariinsky Ballet; however, on its frequent tours abroad it is still called the Kirov Ballet. Often regarded as the foremost European ballet company, with strict classical traditions of elegance and beauty, the company was originally the Imperial Russian Ballet. In 1889 it moved into the Mariinsky Theatre. Under the direction of Marius PetipaPetipa, Marius
, 1818–1910, French dancer and choreographer, b. Marseilles. Petipa rose to prominence at the Imperial Theatre in St. Petersburg. He was the principal creator of the modern classical ballet.
..... Click the link for more information. the company premiered the Tchaikovsky ballets Sleeping Beauty (1890) and Swan Lake (1895). The company went into decline after the Russian Revolution in 1917, but the great teacher and ballet mistress Agrippina Vaganova (1879–1951) helped preserve its traditions by training the company's principal dancers. Her work became the foundation of ballet instruction in the Soviet Union. In 1935 the company was renamed the Kirov Ballet. During the cold war, the company experienced difficulties as many of its dancers, including NureyevNureyev, Rudolf
, 1938–93, Russian ballet dancer, b. near Irkutsk, Siberian USSR (now Russia). Nureyev studied in Ufa and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), and in 1958 he became a soloist with the Kirov Ballet. In 1961 he defected from the Soviet Union while on tour in Paris.
..... Click the link for more information. , MakarovaMakarova, Natalia,
1940–, Russian ballet dancer, b. Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). She studied at the Choreographic School in her native city, graduating in 1959, and joined the Kirov Ballet.
..... Click the link for more information. , and BaryshnikovBaryshnikov, Mikhail
, 1948–, Russian-American dancer and choreographer, b. Riga, Latvia (then in the USSR). He studied in Riga and performed with the Kirov Ballet (1966–74).
..... Click the link for more information. , defected to the West. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the company has produced, along with its traditional repertoire, ballets by Balanchine and other modern choreographers. Oleg Vinogradov was the artistic director from 1977 to 1997; Valery Gergiev now holds the post.