Maiia Mikhailovna Plisetskaia

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Plisetskaia, Maiia Mikhailovna


(also Maya Pliset-skaya). Born Nov. 20, 1925, in Moscow. Soviet ballerina. People’s Artist of the USSR (1959).

In 1943, Plisetskaia graduated from the Moscow Choreographic School, where she studied under E. P. Gerdt and M. M. Leont’eva. She was immediately accepted into the troupe of the Bol’shoi Theater. Her first principal role was Masha in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (1944). Through Plisetskaia’s artistry, the dance achieves a high level of harmony; this is particularly evident in her rendition of The Dying Swan to the music of C. Saint-Sae’ns. Plisetskaia has found new ways of interpreting the music of Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, and Bizet. Both lyrical and heroic roles are close to her artistic temperament. These include Odette-Odile in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, the Mistress of the Copper Mountain in Prokofiev’s The Stone Flower, the title role in Glazunov’s Raymonda, Kitri in Minkus’ Don Quixote, Aurora in Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Carmen in Carmen Suite to the music of Bizet and Shchedrin, and the title role in Shchedrin’s Anna Karenina. Plisetskaia’s dancing combines the best of Russian choreographic tradition with the innovativeness of Soviet choreographers. In 1972, together with N. I. Ryzhenko and V. V. Smirnov-Golovanov, she staged the ballet Anna Karenina (based on Tolstoy’s novel) at the Bol’shoi Theater.

Plisetskaia has toured the USA, Great Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and other countries. She received the Lenin Prize in 1964 and has been awarded the Order of Lenin and various medals.


Roslavleva, N. Maiia Plisetskaia, Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.