On July 31, 2016, a Gala-performance, dedicated to the 90th birth anniversary of Maya Plisetskaya, was held at Cannes Palais des Festivals. The event was organized by Askaneli Art, BALLET2000 and Visual Classics, with the support of Rosatom.
Principal dancers and Soloists of the world greatest ballet companies performed at Gala – Principal Dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet Diana Vishneva, Principal Dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet Friedemann Vogel, Principal Dancer with the Vienna State Ballet Davide Dato, as well as Sergio Bernal (Ballet Nacional de España), Vladimir Shklyarov (Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg), Ósiel Gouneo (English National Ballet, with his partner Jem Choi), Virna Toppi and Jacopo Tissi (Teatro alla Scala, Milan), Maëva Cotton and Alessio Passaquindici (Ballet Nice Méditerranée, Opéra de Nice) and others.
More than two thousand connoisseurs of classical dance from around the world visited the event. Russian legendary composer Rodion Shchedrin, husband of Maya Plisetskaya, was guest of honor.
Award Ceremony Prix BALLET2000 for the best dance achievements was held after the concert. This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award (Prix à la Carrière) was given to the Dutch choreographer, ‘the Mondriaan of dance’ Hans van Manen.
During the press conference organized on July 30th, Jury coordinator, famous dance critic and BALLET2000 Editor-in chief Alfio Agostini told that in 2004, the first edition of the Prix established by BALLET2000 went to Maya Plisetskaya. “She refused just to receive the award, she danced on the stage of Palais des Festivals for the last time. She was 79 at the time”, said Agostini. “Since then, we host annual concerts, but this year – year of her birth anniversary, we decided to pay tribute to her and to establish an Award in her honor.”
This year three special prizes “Prix Maya” were awarded to the Principal Dancer with the Mariinsky Theater Diana Vishneva, Étoile and new Director of the Paris Opéra Ballet Aurélie Dupont, Principal Dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet Friedemann Vogel.
Artistic director of the event, Mariinsky Étoile Irma Nioradze said that the Prize is the most important event in the world of ballet. “I wanted to create something special that would have a link with the name of this truly legendary ballerina. I am convinced that ‘Prix Maya’ and a statuette of Maya Plisetskaya, whose talent and creativity are symbols of eternity and world culture, will have a great history.”
Award Ceremony was attended by Kiril Komarov, First Deputy Director General of Rosatom, one of the event organizers. “The talent of Maya Plisetskaya was recognized across borders. The great Russian ballerina, she became a symbol of the dialogue of cultures and people – no matter what era was behind walls of the theater. The language of her art was equally understood and loved all over the world. Rosatom, as a global international company presented today almost in all corners of the Earth, could not stay away from the Gala concert dedicated to the memory of Maya Plisetskaya.”
According to prima-ballerina Diana Vishneva, some kind of award should be established, when Maya Plisetskaya passed away: “I think that for each it is a great honor to receive this award. For me – it was a big, but very pleasant surprise.” – a dancer admitted.
Alexander Merten, President of Rosatom-International Network, pointed out that cooperation in culture and business “enriches bilateral relations, strengthens human contacts and mutual understanding, and provides new opportunities not only for Russia and France, but for the whole world.”
The charitable auction ended the evening. All the funds raised will be donated to the foundation supporting victims of the terrorist attack of July 14th, 2016 in Nice.
For further information on this extraordinary lady please see below, extracted from Wikipedia on Maya Plisetskaya
“Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya (Russian: Ма́йя Миха́йловна Плисе́цкая; 20 November 1925 – 2 May 2015) was a Soviet-born ballet dancer, choreographer, ballet director, and actress, who held Spanish and Lithuanian citizenship. She danced during the Soviet era at the same time as Galina Ulanova, another famed Russian ballerina. In 1960 she ascended to Ulanova’s former title as prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi.
Plisetskaya studied ballet from age nine and first performed at the Bolshoi Theatre when she was eleven. She joined the Bolshoi Ballet company when she was eighteen, quickly rising to become their leading soloist. Her early years were also marked by political repression, however, partly because her family was Jewish. She was not allowed to tour outside the country for sixteen years after joining the Bolshoi. During those years, her fame as a national ballerina was used to project the Soviet Union’s achievements during the Cold War. Premier Nikita Khrushchev, who lifted her travel ban in 1959, considered her “not only the best ballerina in the Soviet Union, but the best in the world.”
As a member of the Bolshoi until 1990, her skill as a dancer changed the world of ballet, setting a higher standard for ballerinas both in terms of technical brilliance and dramatic presence. As a soloist, Plisetskaya created a number of leading roles, including Moiseyev’s Spartacus (1958); Grigorovich’s The Stone Flower (1959); Aurora in Grigorovich’s The Sleeping Beauty (1963); Alberto Alonso’s Carmen Suite (1967), written especially for her; and Maurice Bejart’s Isadora (1976). Among her most acclaimed roles was Odette-Odile in Swan Lake (1947). A fellow dancer stated that her dramatic portrayal of Carmen, reportedly her favorite role, “helped confirm her as a legend, and the ballet soon took its place as a landmark in the Bolshoi repertoire.” Her husband, composer Rodion Shchedrin, wrote the scores to a number of her ballets.
Having become “an international superstar” and a continuous “box office hit throughout the world,” Plisetskaya was treated by the Soviet Union as a favored cultural emissary. Although she toured extensively during the same years that other dancers defected, including Rudolf Nureyev, Natalia Makarova and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Plisetskaya always refused to defect. Beginning in 1994, she presided over the annual international ballet competitions, called Maya, and in 1996 she was named President of the Imperial Russian Ballet. In 1991 she published her autobiography, I, Maya Plisetskaya.”