Russian Personalities

People well-known in art, sport, film, fashion

Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev – Russian ballet dancers

Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev - Russian ballet dancers

Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev – Russian ballet dancers

Ekaterina Maximova and her husband Vladimir Vasiliev were great Soviet and Russian ballet dancers, choreographers and ballet teachers.
Ekaterina Maximova was born on February 1, 1939 in Moscow. She was one of the most popular and beloved of the Russian ballerinas of the 20th Century. In 1973 Ekaterina was awarded the title People’s Artist of the USSR and in 1981 Laureate of the State Prize of the USSR.
Ekaterina is a granddaughter of Russian philosopher, philologist and critic, polyglot G.G. Shpet. Her mother was a journalist.
In 1958, Ekaterina graduated from the Moscow Choreographic School and was admitted to the Bolshoi Theater, where she worked until 1988.
In 1957 Maximova won the National competition of ballet dancers in Moscow and in the same year she made her debut as Masha in The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.
Ekaterina performed a lot with her husband Vladimir Vasiliev.

Ekaterina’s Ballet Party
Giselle by A. Sh Adan – Pas de Deux (1958), Giselle (1960)
Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky – Dance of the Little Swans (1958), Odette-Odile (1968)
Stone Flower by Prokofiev – Katerina (1959)
Flames of Paris by Asafiev – Jeanne (1961)
The Fountain of Bakhchisarai by Asafiev – Mary (1962)
Spartacus by Khachaturian – Nymph (1962), Phrygia (1968)
Sleeping Beauty by Tchaikovsky – Princess Florine (1963), Aurora (1964, 1973)
Cinderella by Prokofiev – Cinderella (1964)
Don Quixote by F. L Minkus – Kitri (1965) and many others.

maximova childhood

Ekaterina in her childhood

Maximova successfully toured in Europe, the US. She was called “wonderful little elf” and “baby of the Bolshoi Ballet”. Great ballerina Galina Ulanova played a major role in the creative life of Maximova.
Maximova took an active role in the development of Soviet contemporary ballet. She is unique among the artists of the Soviet period in that she was able to guest widely with foreign companies appearing with great success in the works of Cranko and Petit.
Together with her husband Vasiliev she toured independently from the main Bolshoi troupe from the early 1980s and took on many new roles created for her by her husband.
Fortunately, many of her roles have been preserved on film, often partnered by Vasiliev and prove a lasting document to her achievements and also to one of the greatest ballet partnership in the history of dance.
In 1994, Ekaterina was the godmother of Japanese ballerina Yukari Saito.

Selected Filmography
1960 – Glass Slipper – Fairy Spring
1976 – Mom
1977 – Galatea – Eliza (directed by A. Belinsky)
1979 – Old Tango (directed by A. Belinsky)
1983 – La Traviata (directed by Franco Zeffirelli)
1994 – Cool lady – Natalia Davydovna (directed by A. Belinsky)
1998 – Kate – a film about Ekaterina Maximova’s work, directed by Nikolai Tikhonov
2004 – When the dance is life – a documentary about Ekaterina Maximova, directed by Nikolai Tikhonov

Ekaterina Maximova died on April 28, 2009 in Moscow and was buried in the Novodevichy Cemetery.
Ekaterina had a lot of awards and recognition: International Ballet Competition in Varna (1964, gold medal); Lenin Komsomol Award (1972); Order of Lenin (1976); State Prize of the USSR (1981); Order of Friendship of Peoples (1981); The award Together for Peace (1989, Italy); Award named Gino Tani – Best Duet (with V. Vasilyev, 1989, Italy); UNESCO Prize (1990); Order For Services to the Fatherland IV degree (2008) and many others.

Vladimir Vasiliev was born on April 18, 1949 in Moscow. He was best known for his role of Spartacus and his powerful leaps and turns.
Vladimir was the first dancer to be given the award The Gold Medal of the World’s Best Dancer.
New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff described the excitement of one of Vasiliev’s U.S. performances with the Bolshoi Ballet: “Yekaterina Maksimova and Vladimir Vasiliev burst upon New York City in 1959, the greatest of the passionate young dancers who, with Moscow’s more established stars, made the Bolshoi Ballet’s American debut a total triumph.”
Vasiliev has received many of the most prestigious Soviet, Russian and foreign prizes, orders and awards including the USSR State Prize, Russian State Prize, Russian State order For Merits and State Order For Merits of France, Lithuanian State Order, Order of Rio Branco (Brazil), UNESCO Pablo Picasso Medal and others.

Ekaterina Maximova, Vladimir Vasiliev – Russian ballet dancers