Marina Kondratieva

    Marina Kondratieva

    Marina Kondratieva

    Legend of Love
    Marina Kondratieva

    The Sleeping Beauty
    Marina Kondratieva

    Anna Karenina
    Marina Kondratieva


Marina Kondratieva

Marina Kondratieva was born in Leningrad on 1 February 1934 but studied at the Moscow Choreographic School under Galina Petrova, at that time a soloist at the Bolshoi Theatre. She graduated in 1952 and was immediately engaged at the Bolshoi passing into the class of perfection under the guidance of Marina Semyonova, with whom she was to remain for her entire career. Her first major role came within a year when she danced the title role in Zakharov's ballet Cinderella. She also took part in several small roles in the historic tour to Britain by the Bolshoi Ballet in 1956.

As she developed her talents she was sadly rarely included on the major international tours of the Bolshoi ballet, less frequently than some of her colleagues, but she did enjoy considerable success in London in 1965 in a long season at the Royal Festival Hall where she danced the Walpurgis Night scene from Gounod's Faust and the exciting duet Spring Waters with Maris Liepa which regularly had to be encored. This was indeed a special partnership. She was also a great favourite in New York where she had first danced in 1959.

The West was not fortunate to be able to enjoy the full artistic range of this artist. In Moscow she was a great favourite with the audiences and her wide repertoire of full-length ballets embracing all styles gives an indication of her versatility.

One of her notable successes was as Katerina in The Stone Flower, which was the first ballet by Yuri Grigorovich to be staged by the Bolshoi Theatre, premiered on 7 March 1959 with Nikolai Fadeyechev and Maya Plisetskaya also in the cast. She danced her first Juliet and Giselle during the same season.

Kondratieva moreover danced in a number of contemporary ballets throughout her career, creating the Muse in Paganini in 1960 and Magnolia in Chippolino in 1977. She was also second cast in the Moscow premiere of Anna Karenina in 1972 after Plisetskaya and she scored a major personal triumph in the role. She retired from dancing in 1980.

Kondratieva's technique was complete in the best Russian tradition, concealing a great physical strength behind a seemingly soft romantic image. She had an exceptionally vibrant jump, powerful, high and swift, but with superb ballon. She had excellent clear batterie. Her plastique was lyrical, flowing and smooth and her long extensive singing line was extremely feminine. Here was a dancer of great emotional maturity on stage triumphing equally in classical and contemporary roles. She was a consummate actress; her Anna Karenina, completely different from Maya Plisetskaya was original and striking. Her dance talents were perhaps most comprehensively utilised in the ballets of Yuri Grigorovich. But I think the most memorable performances were of Giselle and Romeo & Juliet with Maris Liepa, which were both superbly danced and highly charged theatrically.

There is little film easily available of her dancing but Russian Television did film a documentary dedicated to her in 1979, featuring scenes from many of her major roles, partnered by Liepa, Lavrovsky and others. She also filmed the complete Paganini in 1974.

Since 1980 she has been a repetiteur and teacher at the Bolshoi theatre and also taught at the theatrical institute GITIS from 1980-87. Currently, among her pupils in the Bolshoi are Ekaterina Shipulina, Anastasia Goriacheva, Nina Kaptsova, and Natalia Osipova.

Geoff Whitlock

Her repertory includes:
  • Katerina, Mistress of the Copper Mountain in The Stone Flower (Grigorovich)
  • title role in Cinderella (Zakharov)
  • Queen of the Sea in The Little Humpbacked Horse
  • Muse in Paganini(Lavrovsky)
  • title role in Giselle
  • Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (Lavrovsky)
  • Magnolia in Chippolino (Maiorov)
  • Prelude and 7th Waltz in Chopiniana (Fokine)
  • Odette-Odile in Swan Lake
  • Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty
  • Girl in Spectre de la Rose (Fokine)
  • Maria in The Fountain of Bakhchisarai (Zakharov)
  • Masha in The Nutcracker (Vainonen)
  • title role in Anna Karenina (Plisetskaya)
  • Phrygia in Spartacus (Grigorovich)
  • Shirin in The Legend of Love (Grigorovich)
  • Siumbike in Shuraleh (Jakobson)

  • Bacchante in Walpurgis Night (Lavrovsky)
  • Gluck Melody
  • Spring Waters (Messerer)
  • La Sylphide pas de deux
  • Gavotte (Vainonen)
  • Grand Pas Classique (Gsovsky)

Copyright 2003-2005
Text of  Marina Kondratieva Copyright 2003-2006 Geoff Whitlock. All rights reserved.

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