[Bolshoi Ballet] Plisetskaya, Maya. (1925–2015)
Group of Signed Photographs
Large group of signed promotional photographs from the principal ballerinas of the Bolshoi Ballet on their second tour of the United States in 1962. Included are signed photographs of: Nicolai Fadeyechev and Maya Plisetskaya in Swan Lake; Ekaterina Maximova in Giselle; Ekaterina Maximova and Stainslov Vlasov in the pas de deux "Spring Waters" (signed by Maximova only); Natalia Ryzhenko; Maya Samokhvalova in Gayane; Nina Timofeyeva in Swan Lake; Nina Sorokina in Chopiniana; Natalia Bessmertnova in Giselle; Nina Sorokina in the pas de deux "Flames of Paris"; and Natalia Bessmertnova in an unidentified role. Each photograph stamped on the verso by Sol Hurok and with a typewritten caption identifying the dancer and role. Some light edge wear; overall fine. Each ca. 9.5 x 11.5 inches.
The Bolshoi Ballet's first tour of the United States came in 1959, after 35 years of effort from the legendary impresario Sol Hurok. The second tour, in 1962, came at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In the same year, the New York City Ballet traveled to Soviet Union for a State-Department-sponsored tour—a fascinating moment in diplomacy in the arts.
The star of the tour was undoubtedly Maya Plisetskaya, the Bolshoi's prima ballerina assoluta. She had never danced in the West until the first tour of 1959, presumably for fear she would defect. Newsweek wrote in 1962: "...in Plisetskaya, [the Bolshoi] has a dynamic star with built-in audience appeal. Her technique is strength itself, and her powers of projection keep her audience nailed to the backs of their seats. Confidence and maturity appear to have deepened her bright fires, for her Odette now has the tenderness and warmth it lacked when she danced the role in the U.S. three years ago. Her Odile remains pure witchery."
From the collection of Paul McMahon, a critic, photographer and artist who worked for more than 13 years touring with Marlene Dietrich as the icon’s stage manager, announcer, dresser, secretary and escort, and later spent 25 years as an arts and entertainment reviewer and photographer with Gay Community News, Esplanade, Tommy’s Connection, The Mirror, Bay Windows and other publications.