Yuri Grigorovich

"Ballet of the Bolshoi differs. It differs very much. And it differs in three specific causes related to each other. It's Russian. It’s Soviet. And its artistic director is Yuri Grigorovich. But there are other aspects that are visible in the ballet of the Bolshoi Theater of the new style. They are caused by his own genius (because he is, I think, a great choreographer), and his special historical mission of convergence of the Leningrad and the Moscow Ballet Schools”.

American ballet critic Clive Barnes

Yuri Grigorovich was born in January 2, 1927 in Leningrad. In 1946 he graduated from the Leningrad Choreographic School (now Vaganova Ballet Academy), where he studied under the guidance of Boris Sharov and Alexei Pisarev, and was admitted to the ballet troupe of the Leningrad State Academic Opera and Ballet named after Kirov (now the Mariinsky theatre), where he remained a soloist until 1961. He began to compose dances in his youth – at the ballet studio of the famous Leningrad Palace of Culture named after Gorky.

His first productions at the Kirov Theatre - "The Stone Flower" (1957) and "The Legend of Love" (1961) - had a huge success. They played a crucial role in the life of Yuri Grigorovich: first, he found his co-author and coworker in the person of an outstanding theater artist Simon Virsaladze, with whom he worked until his death in 1989, second - he made it into history of ballet as brilliant choreographer who has created a series of ballet masterpieces which are included into the Gold Fund of Choreography, and third- he started his fast career development. From 1961 to 1964 he is a choreographer at the Kirov Theatre. And in 1964 he became the chief choreographer of the Bolshoi Theatre. He leaves the theatre in 1995 to return back in 2008. During his time at the Bolshoi Theatre Yuri Grigorovich revealed to the world a galaxy of outstanding performers who became legends of the world of ballet: Maya Plisetskaya, Natalya Bessmertnova, Ekaterina Maksimova, Ljudmila Semenyaka, Nadezhda Pavlova, Nina Semizorova, Michael Lavrovsky, Vladimir Vasilyev, Yuri Vladimirov, Maris Liepa, Vjacheslav Gordeev, Alexander Godunov, Irek Mukhamedov, Nicolay Tsiskaridze and it is not a complete list of brilliant dancers. In 1996 he founded the Ballet Theater in Krasnodar (now the ballet company, "Grigorovich Ballet") still remains its artistic director.

Yuri Grigorovich transferred to the Bolshoi Theatre (in new editions) his ballets: "The Stone Flower" by S.Prokofiev (1959), "The Legend of Love" by A. Melikov (1965), "Romeo and Juliet" by S.Prokofiev (1979, world premiere was held at the Paris National Opera, 1978).

At the Bolshoi Theatre he created his original ballets - "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky (1966), "Spartacus" by Khachaturian (1968), "Ivan the Terrible" to the music of Prokofiev (1975), "Angara "A. Eshpai, " The Golden Age " by Shostakovich (1982), and he also created his version of the ballet classics -" Sleeping Beauty "by Tchaikovsky (1963 G., 1973), "Swan Lake" by Tchaikovsky (1969, 2001), "Raymonda" by Glazunov (1984, 2003), "Giselle" by Adam (1987 .), "La Bayadere" by Minkus (1991), "Le Corsaire" by Adam (1994), "Don Quixote" by Minkus (1994).

In 1974-88 he was a professor of choreography department of the Leningrad State Conservatory named after N.A. Rimsky-Korsakov. Since 1988 he is the head of the choreography department at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

Y. Grigorovich is a member of the Vienna Music Society and the Ukrainian Academy of Dance.

In 1975-85 years he was president of the Dance Committee at the International Theatre Institute UNESCO

Since 1989 – the President of the Association of Choreography. In 1990 he became president of the "Russian Ballet" Fund.

Since 1992 - President of "Benois de la danse” - annually awarded prize for outstanding achievements in the art of ballet.

Since 1973 he is the permanent chairman of the jury of the International Ballet Competition and contest of choreographers in Moscow as well as president of the jury of many more international competitions in the world – Serge Lifar International Ballet Competition, Yuri Grigorovich International Competition "Young Ballet of the World", as well as ballet competitions in Bulgaria (Varna), Spain, the U.S.A, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, China, Austria, Turkey, and Italy.

In 2006 he was elected President of the International Federation of Ballet Competitions (IFBC).

Over and over again Yuri Grigorovich transfers his ballets to a numerous theaters in the country and the world.

In each of his new productions Yuri Grigorovich it is never the same, and he always finds a new approach and techniques to realize his artistic ideas of a choreographer, director, librettist. And in each of his productions there can be clearly seen the hand of the Grand Master of art of ballet.

Some of his ballets were filmed - "Spartacus" (1976) and "Ivan the Terrible" (called "the Terrible Century", 1977).

To the life and career of Yuri Grigorovich the films "The choreographer Yuri Grigorovich" (1970), "A Lifetime of Dance" (1978), "Ballet in the first person" (1986) were dedicated.

In this competition I saw a lot of talented young people, many amazing surprises... featuring himself, his work, each participant thus represented his country, the level of its culture. We all were interested to see what is happening in the world in the field of dance, what's new and significant.

Arnold Haskell, UK

The alarming tendency is that the contestants very often change the chorographical “texts”. This arises a strongest protest in me – I do not want to see the well-known choreography of a ballet masterpiece to be filled up with various “additions” which destroy its style and logic…Distortion of choreographer’s original texts is caused by the technical difficulties which make it hard to perform for the contestants. Then they make a “light version”. The situation is very irritating and requires certain amendments in the competition Regulations.

Charles Jude, France

... This is a great event and I am confident that even the performance on the most famous stages in the world will be a precious memory for all who participate in the competition, regardless of whether they will be among the first or not.

Arnold Haskell, UK

And what I would consider to be the most important – the Competition allows us to see that it is the individual style that is most valued in art

Alicia Alonso, Cuba

Since the very first competition in 1969 many things have changed. And if at that time the difference between the countries with long-standing traditions of classical dance and the counties which did not have any was very big, in the following years this gap has faded away. The popularity of ballet has grown up all around the world. And all the better, as I think it has become difficult to demonstrate you mastery, skills, - the professional requirements have been leveled up!

Olga Lepeshinskaya, USSR

Our Competition, giving a very difficult program, thus stimulates the progress of ballet.

Yuri Grigorovich, Russia
To affirm the basis of classical dance, constantly renewing it, enriching it with new lexis, new themes, new genres – that is what our common task is, that is what should reveal itself most brightly at the Competition.
Igor Moiseev, USSR
To success at the competition you need to have a great deal of personality, the strength… You need to be able to show that you love ballet and to perform even better than you actually can.
Loipa Araujo, Cuba
Ballet is not a sport, the combination of ballet movements should be expressive, meaningful, magical. Bazil and Jose should have the same brilliant technique, but by no means – the same expression.
Ben Stevenson, USA
At the International competition in Moscow I have seen a lot of what is really interesting, which I woul never see anywhere else. I love the art of classical dance and will never lay its precious heritage aside. But every time the epoch brings out something fresh, new. And you do not have to make the choice of “either…or” in art. That is fine which is perfect. This is life itself.
Agnes De Mille, USA