In Honor of the Teachers


The aim of a gala performance, as we know, is to sing the praises of its hero. He is honored, celebrated, he is in the spotlight. But, at his first gala evening at his home Theatre Nikolai Tsiskaridze, remaining true to form, breaks with this tradition. For in the program of his own Gala performance are three celebrations of other people! This elegant gesture is a reminder of the importance of tradition in the ballet world. All three celebrations are dedicated to his great predecessors from whom, in one way or another, the generation which followed them, learnt its art. But Tsiskaridze, himself, was lucky enough to be their pupil, in the direct meaning of the word: he took lessons from them, worked with them in class and in the rehearsal room.

First Celebration — Marina Semyonova
“A ballerina who will always remain a queen. A woman whom one invariably wants to love. A personality before whom one wants to worship”, is how Tsiskaridze himself once characterized Marina Semyonova.

For many years he trained in her famous ballet class and, as he himself acknowledges, she helped him realize his second vocation. Today, he takes his own class at the Bolshoi Theatre.

The Shades scene in La Bayadеre, in which Semyonova herself once shone, is dedicated to her. While the lead male role in this ballet — the warrior Solor — was and remains one of Nikolai Tsiskaridze’s favorite parts.

Second Celebration — in memory of Galina Ulanova

With Galina Ulanova he rehearsed the role of James in La Sylphide and Prince Desire in The Sleeping Beauty. And her last rehearsal was with Tsiskaridze — with him and Nina Semizorova.

“Galina Ulanova was an extraordinary teacher. Only one just had to be able to take what she so generously gave. She never worked just on virtuosity in dance, being of the opinion that undisguised gimmicks were harmful to the dancer. Technique should be invisible, she would say. What is important is the image and the spiritual element, an ongoing and integrated interpretation of the ballet as a whole”.

Their mutual work on Kasian Goleizovsky’s miniature Narcissus, handed on to Nikolai Tsiskaridze by Vladimir Vasilev, the creator of the role, in person, made ballet history thanks to the famous photo session with Mikhail Logvinov.

Third Celebration — Nikolai Fadeyechev
"My greatest friends or, rather, idols — are the great dancers Marina Semyonova and Nikolai Fadeyechev, my teacher. If he were to say to me:"Kolya, tomorrow, you must become a blonde", I would become a blonde, because I believe in Fadeyechev more than in myself."
It was with Fadeyechev, one of the Bolshoi’s most famous 20th century princes, that Nikolai Tsiskaridze rehearsed the absolute majority of his roles. He also rehearsed with him Hermann in La Dame de Pique in which part, following a long absence due to serious injury, he made his comeback to the Bolshoi stage.

“I rehearsed Hermann, I believe, much more, than I had done before the premiere. In point of fact, that I started dancing again, is the victory of Nikolai Borisovich Fadeyechev, not mine”.