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Natalia Makarova

Natalia Romanovna Makarova (, born November 21, 1940) is the legendary Soviet-Russian-born prima ballerina. The History of Dance, published in 1981, notes that Her performances set standards of artistry and aristocracy of dance which mark her as the finest ballerina of her generation in the West. [1] She has also won awards as an actress.



Makarova was born in 1940 in Leningrad in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic of the USSR. At the age of 12, she auditioned for the Leningrad Choreographic School (formerly the Imperial Ballet School), and was accepted although most students join the school at the age of 10.

Makarova was a permanent member of the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad from 1956 to 1970, achieving prima ballerina status during the 1960s. Soon after Makarova defected to the West in 1970, she began performing with the American Ballet Theatre in New York and the Royal Ballet in London.

When she first arrived in the West, Makarova was eager to expand her choreography by dancing ballets by modern choreographers. At the same time, she remained most identified with classical roles such as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Giselle. She was featured in the 1976 live American Ballet Theatre production of Swan Lake, simulcast from Lincoln Center on both PBS and NPR.

Makarova continued to excel in many different roles,[2] most notably, her title role in Giselle. She was slim and slight, and combined a delicacy and lyricism with impeccable classical training. She danced with the likes of such fellow Russian ballet idols at Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolph Nureyev.

In 1989, Natalia Makarova returned to her home theater of the Kirov Ballet and was reunited with her family and with former colleagues and teachers. Her emotional homecoming was documented in the film Makarova Returns. After her performance at the Kirov, she retired from dancing, donating her shoes and costumes to the Kirov Museum. Today Makarova stages ballets such as Swan Lake, La Bayad re, and Sleeping Beauty for companies across the world. She retired from dancing due to accumulating injuries, especially to her knees.

In addition to being an internationally renowned ballerina, Makarova won a Tony Award for her performance in the show On Your Toes. She appeared as Lydia Lopokova (Lady Keynes) in Wooing in Absence, compiled by Patrick Garland. It was first performed at Charleston Farmhouse and then at the Tate Britain.

Personal life

In 1976 Makarova married industrialist Edward Karkar. Together they have a son, Andrei Mikhail, born February 1978.[3]


  • 1960 s Russian Soviet Federation Socialist Republic Merited Artist
  • 1965 Varna International Ballet Competition Gold Medal
  • 1970 Anna Pavlova Prize & Critic s Award, Paris
  • 1977 Dance Magazine Award
  • 1979 Mother of the Year Award
  • 1980 A Dance Autobiography, Knopf Publishers, 1979. Certificate of Excellence American Institute of Graphic Arts Selected for Exhibition
  • 1983 Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 Drama Desk Award On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 Theatre World Award On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 Astaire Award On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 Outer Critics Circle Award On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 Stanislavsky Award On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1984 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical On Your Toes, London
  • 1985 London Evening Standard Award for the Best Performance of 1985 in the ballet Onegin. Presented on stage by Princess Diana after Makarova s performance of Onegin in 1986, London
  • 1986 Emmy Award Nomination for Ballerina a 4 Part Documentary TV series, which was conceived, written & narrated by Makarova, BBC London/WNET
  • 1991/92 American Library Association Award for Makarova s recordings of the stories Snow Maiden, The Frog Princess & Firebird Delos Records
  • 1993 Distinguished Artist Award Los Angeles
  • 2000 Artistic Achievement Award Mexico
  • 2004 Artistic Achievement Award from the School of American Ballet



As Permanent Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre & the Royal Ballet her repertoire included: American Ballet Theatre: Lilac Garden; Dark Elegies; Romeo & Juliet & Pillar of Fire; Theme & Variations & Apollo; La Bayad re; Kingdom of the Shades; Coppelia; Voluntaries; Fille Mal Gardee; La Sylphide; Don Quixote; Nutcracker; Raymonda Act 3; Contredances; Sacre du Printemps (Tetley); Firebird; Concerto; Giselle; Swan Lake; Romeo & Juliet (MacMillan); Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, Other Dances; Epilogue; Miraculous Mandarin; Pas de Quatre; The River; tudes; Moor's Pavane; Romeo & Juliet Pas de Deux (Tchernishov); Desir & Wild Boy. Royal Ballet: - Manon; Song of the Earth; A Month in the Country; Concerto; Cinderella; Voluntaries; Dances at a Gathering; Serenade; Elite Syncopations; Month in the Country; Concerto; Checkmate; Les Biches; Kenneth MacMillan s Romeo and Juliet; Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, Van Manen s Adagio Hammerklavier; MacMillan Pas de Deux & Ashton s Dream Pas de Deux.

As Guest Artist with ballet companies throughout the world her repertoire included: the classical repertoire (Giselle, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide) and Onegin (Cranko); Notre Dame de Paris, Carmen, Proust, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (Petit); Romeo and Juliet (Cranko), Swan Lake (Cranko), Neumeier s Illusions - Like Swan Lake 2nd Act, Bach Sonata (Bejart); Nutcracker (Neumeier); Romeo & Juliet (full-length version Tchernishov); Le Rossignol (Ashton); Rosalinda (Hynd); Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine); Apparitions (Ashton); Afternoon of a Faun (Robbins); Meditation (Haigen) The Real McCoy (Feld) The Lesson (Flindt), The Toreador (Bourneville); Dying Swan; Corsaire Pas de Deux & Don Quixote Pas de Deux.

Original productions staged and directed by Makarova

  • 1974 Kingdom of the Shades American Ballet Theatre
  • 1980 La Bayad re American Ballet Theatre
  • 1983 Paquita American Ballet Theatre
  • 1984 Kingdom of the Shades National Ballet of Canada
  • 1985 Kingdom of the Shades London Festival Ballet
  • 1986 Kingdom of the Shades Teatro Municipal Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
  • 1988 Swan Lake London Festival Ballet
  • 1989 La Bayad re Royal Swedish Ballet
  • 1989 La Bayad re Royal Ballet Covent Garden London
  • 1991 Paquita National Ballet of Canada
  • 1991 Paquita - Universal Ballet Company of Seoul, Korea
  • 1992 La Bayad re La Scala Ballet
  • 1992 La Bayad re Teatro Colon, Argentina
  • 1997 La Bayad re Finnish National Ballet
  • 1997 La Bayad re Ballet de Santiago, Chile
  • 1998 La Bayad re Australian Ballet
  • 2000 Kingdom of the Shades San Francisco Ballet
  • 2000 Giselle Royal Swedish Ballet
  • 2000 La Bayad re Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro
  • 2001 Swan Lake Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro
  • 2002 La Bayad re Hamburg Ballet
  • 2003 Sleeping Beauty Royal Ballet Covent Garden London
  • 2002 Paquita San Francisco Ballet
  • 2004 La Bayad re Theatr Wieki Opera Narodowa, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2005 Swan Lake Perm Ballet Russia
  • 2007 La Bayad re Dutch National Ballet
  • 2007 Swan Lake National Ballet of China
  • 2008 La Bayad re Corella Ballet, Teatro Real, Madrid
  • 2009 La Bayad re Tokyo Ballet


  • 1970 BBC-TV Black Swan Pas de Deux with Rudolf Nureyev & Dying Swan
  • 1976 Swan Lake with Ivan Nagy at the Metropolitan Opera House Live from Lincoln Center American Ballet Theatre.
  • 1976 Don Quixote Pas de deux & Giselle Act 2 (Partner Baryshnikov) BBC TV London.
  • 1977 Giselle with Mikhail Baryshnikov at the Metropolitan Opera House Live From Lincoln Center - American Ballet Theatre
  • 1978 Don Quixote Pas de Deux with Fernando Bujones at the Metropolitan Opera House Live From Lincoln Center American Ballet Theatre.
  • 1978 Jerome Robbin s Other Dances with Mikhail Baryshnikov - WNET
  • 1979 Assoluta Natalia Makarova BBC TV, London
  • 1979 The Magic of Dance
  • 1980 Makarova s production of La Bayad re with Anthony Dowell at the Metropolitan Opera House - Live from Lincoln Center American Ballet Theatre
  • 1980 Swan Lake with Anthony Dowell Royal Ballet, Thames TV, London
  • 1981 The President's Command Performance The Inaugural Gala Performance for President Elect Ronald Reagan, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
  • 1983 Stars Salute the President Ford Theatre, Washington, DC (For President Reagan)
  • 1984 Gala of the Stars Proust (Petit) with Cragun & Begin the Beguine (Gennaro) with Cryst, WNET, Radio City, New York
  • 1985 Natasha - Natalia Makarova National Video Corporation/Kultur USA
  • 1985 American Ballet Theater in San Francisco National Video Corp.
  • 1985 In a Class of Her Own Natalia Makarova THAMES TV London
  • 1985 American Ballet Theatre at the Met Makarova s PAQUITA filmed at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York
  • 1986 Ballerina 4 Part series for BBC TV
  • 1988 The First International Erik Bruhn Competition Guest Appearance by Natalia Makarova
  • 1988 Reunion With the Kirov Ballet - White Swan with Zaklinsky BBC London live Broadcast
  • 1988 Romeo & Juliet (MacMillan) with Kevin Mckenzie at the Metropolitan Opera House Live from Lincoln Center American Ballet Theatre.
  • 1989 Makarova Returns BBC-TV, London/Kultur, USA
  • 1989 Lenningrad Legend BBC-TV Omnibus,London/ Kultur USA
  • 1989 Swan Lake Natalia Makarova s Production for London Festival Ballet
  • 1991 La Bayad re Natalia Makarova s Production for the Royal Ballet From Covent Garden Cameras Continentales, Amaya & Thames
  • 1991 A Portrait of Giselle
  • 1994 BBC Great Railway Journeys St. Petersburg to Tashkent - Written & Presented by Natalia Makarova
  • 2007 La Bayad re Natalia Makarova s production for La Scala Ballet, Milan.
  • 2009 La Bayad re Natalia Makarova s production for the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, London.
  • 2011 Natalia Makarova Two Lives - Russian Documentary

See also


Further reading

External links

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