Legendary Russian ballerina dies aged 101

Marina Semenova, the great Russian ballerina and the oldest up until last night, has died at the age of 101, the Bolshoi Theatre’s website reported on Wednesday.

A graduate of the St. Petersburg Ballet School and a pupil of the world famous ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova, Marina Semenova was the first Soviet ballerina to have tremendous success on foreign stages in the 1930s. She worked with the Kirov Ballet – now the Mariinsky Theatre – until 1930 when Stalin had her transferred to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

She danced all the leading parts in classical ballet repertoire, including Giselle, Aurora in “Sleeping Beauty”, Odette-Odile in “Swan Lake”, Raimonda and many more.

Semenova spent more than 60 years working with the Bolshoi, only leaving its walls at the age of 96. Semenova became a teacher to such ballet stars as Maya Plisetskaya, Rimma Karelskaya, Nina Timofeeva, Marina Kondratieva, Natalia Bessmertnova, Nina Sorokina, Nadezhda Pavlova, Galina Stepanenko, Nina Ananiashvili, Nikolay Tsiskaridze and others.

Marina Semenova was given the Stalin Award in 1941, was named People's Artist of the USSR in 1975, and National Actress of the USSR in 1988.