A life well lived

Minsk’s Svetoch bookshop hosts launch of biography of Maya Plisetskaya

Minsk’s Svetoch bookshop hosts launch of biography of Maya Plisetskaya

The author of the book, Nikolay Yefimovich, is the Editor of Soyuznoe Veche newspaper and the First Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Komsomolskaya Pravda. As the ballerina’s close friend for the last 20 years of her life, he was ideally placed to write about her life, preparing the book in time for Ms. Plisetskaya’s 90th birthday. She dreamt of celebrating her jubilee on the Bolshoi Theatre stage but sadly, last May, she died.

Komsomolskaya Pravda readers and young ballerinas from the Choreographic College came to chat with the author about Ms. Plisetskaya’s incredible life and wonderful character. “Being an artiste, she was surrounded by applause and joy. She couldn’t exist without the stage,” he recalled. During the interval at one of her shows, he remembers her saying that her legs were aching. However, on returning to the stage, she danced as if nothing was wrong — being young and charming.

Ms. Plisetskaya’s determination brought her success. Mr. Yefimovich recalled, “I once interviewed her and was 30 minutes late, due to traffic. Looking at her icy face, I realised that I needed to apologise profusely. She told me that she’d woken up early in the morning to be ready in time, and I should have done the same. Only two hours later did I realise how much she had enjoyed the interview. On parting, she kissed me, and I then understood that I was forgiven.”

Ms. Plisetskaya was generous and kind, often giving gifts. “She loved decorations and also loved to give them,” he said. Speaking of whether the ballerina visited Belarus, Mr. Yefimovich noted, “She had Belarusian roots: her father’s parents were born in Gomel and her mother was born in Vilnius. She often visited Belarus with her husband, composer Rodion Shchedrin.”

Ms. Plisetskaya knew famous Belarusian ballet dancer Valentin Yelizariev, having worked together in the film Spring Flood. Mr. Yefimovich tells us that she always spoke of Valentin with much warmth, saying: ‘I never repeated the choreographer’s movements; I repeated Mr. Yelizariev’s movements’.”

The book contains the most sincere interviews with Maya Plisetskaya, in addition to photos on stage and with friends and relatives.

By Darya Lomonovskaya
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