2017-02-17 18:00:00

Honouring Tatiana Terekhova

On 18 February the ballet Raymonda will be performed in honour of the remarkable Kirov-Mariinsky Theatre prima ballerina and coach Tatiana Terekhova.

Tatiana Terekhova on the stage was the embodiment of absolute skill. It was not by chance that her ballet colleagues referred to her as Madame "I Can Do Everything". With ease, she precisely "gave word to" the choreographic quick steps in the incredibly complex classical variations of Gamzatti, Diana, Medora and Odette-Odile, she depicted the refined graphics of oriental poses in the role of Shyrin in The Legend of Love and she confidently danced the double fouettés in Don Quixote. She enchanted audiences with her firework-like virtuoso technique. But regardless of her success in dazzling roles that demonstrated the skills required for these roles, Terekhova herself set the main test to claim the title of prima ballerina by dancing classical works, where it's not so much about "tricks" as it is about the crystal purity of dance that comprises the artistic essence of the image. Her Raymonda and Aurora to this day are recalled as impeccable and impressive examples of the Vaganova technique.

Tatiana Terekhova received her basic training in the Leningrad school from Elena Shiripina, graduating from her class to enter the Vaganova School of Dance in 1970. The ballerina owed the jewel-like finish of her dance to her theatre coach Ninel Kurgapkina. It was she who shared with Terekhova the secrets of pure dance in Kirov Theatre productions, and it was from her that Terekhova inherited the excitement of dance and on-stage joie de vivre. Through the free and infectious energy of her dance, Terekhova created portraits of Kitri and Laurencia, and the charm of her heroines was born not from acting but from dance. The dance phrases, made to dazzle, with cleverly and tastefully placed accents became more eloquent than gestures and pantomime scenes. And the appearance in the late 1980s in the Leningrad repertoire of ballets by Balanchine, where no peripeteia of a story covered the refinement of the choreographic drawing, was to be a great gift for Terekhova. She was named the most "Balanchine-like" ballerina in Russia. And years later the Balanchine Foundation even entrusted her with working on Symphony in C at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Tatiana Terekhova's life on the stage saw her appear in new productions for the time. She danced as Tora in Vinogradov's Fairy of the Rondsky Hills, Esmeralda in Petit's Notre Dame de Paris, the She-Devil in Kasatkina and Vasilyov's Creation of the World and the Firebird in Eifman's eponymous ballet. She also shone in the filigree technique of Bournonville's early choreography, conquering all the underwater flows of Napoli. Already at the sunset of her performing career, Terekhova discovered the choreography of Ratmansky. In his Charms of Mannerism she displayed her gift for comedy, subtly conveying the irony of the choreographer, making the audience smile through purely choreographic language. She was capable of everything in dance.

Today, Tatiana Terekhova is passing on her experience to the next generation of ballet dancers. With her performing determination for the absolute, she inspires her pupils, among them Yekaterina Osmolkina and Alina Somova. Terekhova's position as a coach also includes working on the central female role in the ballet Shurale, in which she herself once staggered audiences, and her other starring roles .

Olga Makarova

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