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Maestro Igor Moiseyev (Artistic Director)

Igor Alexandrovich Moiseyev — "one of the greatest choreographers in 20th-century dance” (Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times) — was born of Ukrainian parentage in Kiev in 1906.

A few months later Moiseyev’s father, an attorney, moved the family to Paris where the boy passed the first seven years of his life, becoming bilingual.

His mother, a seamstress, added to the family income by sewing costumes for productions at the Theatre Chatelet, a circumstance which may have stimulated an early interest in the arts of drama and dance.

He and his family returned to the Soviet Union in 1914, living first in Poltava in the Ukraine.

There, the legendary villages of Dikanka and Sorochinsty became real to the young Moiseyev, and the festivals, fairs, and dances he witnessed became vivid, indelible images.

Mr. Moiseyev later described it as "a kind of unconscious gravitation I felt all throughout my life.”

A year later the Moiseyev family settled in Moscow.

There, Moiseyev enrolled in a Gymnasium where he concentrated on painting, poetry and sports.

At age twelve he began his ballet training at a well known private school headed by Vera Moslova.

After seeing his first Bolshoi Ballet performance two years later, his career was determined.

Moslova recognized his talent and brought him to the Bolshoi School where, out of one hundred applicants, only he and Asaf Messerer (who was destined to glorify his own name in Russian ballet) were chosen.

At 18, Moiseyev graduated from the Bolshoi School of Choreography, joined the Bolshoi Ballet, and gradually rose to the status of principal dancer.

His most famous roles included Raoul in "Theolinde,” Joseph in "Joseph the Beautiful,” the Phoenix in "The Red Poppy” and leading roles in the standard classical repertoire.

But choreography had become his chief passion.

He created new productions for the Bolshoi, among them "Salammbo,” in which he danced the leading role of Matho, "Three Fat Men,” and "The Football Players.”

Even the most conservative members of the dance world, opponents of his departures from the strict programming of classical ballet, hailed him for his great choreographic inventiveness and his dazzling theatrical form.

It was during this period also that he established his reputation as a scholar of all aspects of Russian folklore.

Moiseyev was appointed Ballet Master at the Bolshoi Theatre.

Shortly after, he was asked to organize a festival of national dance, and he thus began the work that would ultimately be recognized as one of the greatest artistic contributions to the dance world.

The festival’s success inspired him to form the state ensemble of folk dance now identified internationally with his name—The Moiseyev Dance Company.

Since giving its first performance in 1938, the company has toured over sixty countries and is internationally recognized as the premier folk dance company in the world.

Just as famous today are the signature dances he choreographed for his ensemble, which include the Ukrainian "Gopak,” the soccer-inspired "Football Players,” and "Summer.”

Moiseyev wonnumerous awards for his artistic contributions to world culture. He was the recipient of UNESCO’s Mozart Medal for "outstanding contribution to world music culture,” the Government of Moscow Award for "Legend of the Century,” and the award for "outstanding contribution to the development of cultural relations between the US and Russia”—an honor only accorded to two others: pianist Van Cliburn and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.

On the occasion of his 100th birthday, a gala performance took place at the Kremlin Palace Theater in Moscow honoring his great contribution to the world of dance.

Mr. Moiseyev was presented with Russia’s top civilian honor for service to the nation from President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Moiseyev died in Moscow in November 2007 at the age of 101.

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