Eva Evdokimova-Gregori (December 1, 1948 – April 3, 2009) was a prima ballerina with the Royal Danish and Berlin Opera Ballets.
Born in Geneva, Switzerland to a Bulgarian father and an American mother, Evdokimova, an American citizen, began her ballet studies as a child in Munich, before attending the Royal Ballet School in London, where she studied for several years under the direction of Maria Fay. She finished her training from 1966-68, at the ballet school of the Royal Danish Ballet, studying under Vera Volkova and becoming the first non-Danish dancer to attend the school. She graduated into the Berlin Opera Ballet in 1969, where she danced her first Giselle in 1971. She was promoted to prima ballerina in 1973, a position she held for twelve years. For many years she was also the leading ballerina of the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), where she was chosen by Rudolf Nureyev to dance the first Princess Aurora in his production of The Sleeping Beauty with the company in 1975.
Throughout her career, she danced with numerous other companies, including the Kirov Ballet, where she was coached by Natalia Dudinskaya, the American Ballet Theater, and the Paris Opera Ballet. She frequently was paired with Nureyev, with whom she said, "I've danced in ... nearly every city in the world." After a performance with the Kirov Ballet she was awarded the title "Prima Ballerina Assoluta." Subsequently she was billed that way internationally. Evdokimova is considered by many to be the finest exponent of the romantic style since the Russian ballerina Olga Spessivtseva. In addition to her insuperable interpretations of the tragic heroines of the Romantic era, namely GISELLE and LA SYLPHIDE, her repertoire encompassed about 125 roles ranging from classical to contemporary works. The last dance created for her (by choreographer Henning R bsam) in 2002, prompted New York Times critic Jennifer Dunning to comment: "Both the solo and her performance were celebrations of the kind of artistry that comes only with maturity and experience."
Evdokimova, the first American to do so, won the Varna International Ballet Competition in 1970, having been snubbed earlier that year in a Moscow competition. She was awarded the charter Ulanova Prize in 2005 for "selfless dedication to the art of dance".
Probably the most comprehensively trained ballerina of her time (having studied virtually every method of ballet technique), Evdokimova would later become a dance teacher and coach around the world. After her performing career, she was ballet mistress at the Boston Ballet and judged numerous international ballet competitions.
She died on April 3, 2009, aged 60, from complications of cancer in Manhattan, New York, according to her husband and only immediate relative, Michael S. Gregori.
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