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.