She is the genius of Russian ballet, its elusive soul, its inspired poetry. Ulanova imparts to her interpretation of classical roles a depth of expression unheard of in twentieth century ballet….
The image of Ulanova – gentle, fragile and wise – was given to me in my early youth and is rooted in my heart and memory forever. Each encounter with Ulanova and her art, each memory of her – is always a great thrill and happiness. With thanks to her and gratitude to Fate for having given her to us.
Ulanova has charted new paths in ballet …Not only has she given us unforgettable characters, she has created her own artistic world – a realm of human spirituality…Ulanova has transformed ballet into a popular art form. Thanks to her even its most implacable enemies have become its supporters and thousands of people now acknowledge ballet to be a vital necessity
To dance Shakespeare in such a way that people said this was a real Shakespearian character, that even in the play itself there was no Juliet like this – means to have opened a new page in the art of ballet. And this was what Ulanova did..
The talent of ballerina Ulanova amounts to a passion for, great devotion to, work. Her talent is that of one possessed by her work. I know of no other artist to whom the phrase, ‘in service of the arts’, is more applicable.
When we talk in the past tense of a minor poet, we say: “He wrote”. But of Pushkin – we say “he writes”! Great art never fades. Even art that it is impossible to record and fully convey to future generations. It goes on living, for all that – it lives on in noble memories, in the traditions of the master, whose creative achievement will always remain a highpoint and criterion of art, of the beautiful, like Ulanova who will never be in the past, but always in the future!
Galina Sergeyevna had a real “close-up”. And this is a rarity not only in ballet, but also in cinema, although it specializes in it. Ulanovsky’s eyes, face lived the life of deep thoughts, hidden experiences… To this day – with a sinking heart – I remember the “close-up” in Giselle’s madness scene; instantly pale and as if Ulanova’s face immediately drowned, as if she listens to something inaudible, her gaze – detached and at the same time self-deepened, look – not at the world, but deep into her own soul … Her Juliet is a proud, fearless character, it is also a symbol of a tender, romantic Dream.
Ulanova is incomprehensible and incomparable with other dancers. By to the trait of the most intimate. By nature of mystery… It belongs to…to another dimension.
To talk about her is just as difficult as it is to talk about Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. We will be reduced to tears before we manage to give a rational, sober account of her art. Indeed, the great dancer’s strength is that she always reminds us of what is hidden deep down inside her and unexpressed.
I have never seen anything like it in my life! God, the peaks and heights that creativity can achieve! It is the Divine spirit! I sat and shouted with delight at this formidable art. Only Chaliapin could affect one in this way! It was not even dance, it was singing. It is the first time, in many years, that I have been so shaken. Why have I not seen her before? To convey this impression in words is impossible. Thousands of thoughts went through my head. How could one keep this miracle on earth? How to pass on this Gospel to future generations, so that they could learn from Ulanova, this supreme, divine art?
“I always held you in the highest regard for having returned female grace to dance. A Botticelli-like grace – that was the most valuable thing you gave us.”
Ulanova is Raphael with the soul of Michelangelo.
I adore Ulanova the artist… I adore Ulanova the teacher. How much tenderness, how much inexhaustible patience, how much self-denial in her attitude to her students. Only a great artist can give and reveal his secrets so generously… So sincerely rejoice, seeing in the works of the students the continuation of his own life. In Galina Sergeyevna it is not just work by duty, it is a desire of the soul, a spiritual need.
It’s above everything earthly, thinner, cleaner, more refined, it’s above everyone, over the world of vanity…
Ulanova has created her own style, has schooled us to it. She represents an epoch, a time. She has her own hallmark. Like Mozart, Beethoven and Prokofiev she has had an impact, she has reflected her age.
I do not know how my life would have turned out had Ulanova not been at my side….My meeting with her is a permanent and extraordinary contribution to my awareness of many important and valuable ideas, discoveries.
Immediately after the first rehearsal with Ulanova, I realized that I had a very difficult period ahead of me, a long, perhaps endless journey to the great art that she would require from me the same measure of dedication that was in her. I believed every word she said, gesture, look, everything.
Looking at Odette, Aurora, Juliette Ulanova for some reason you always think about the beauty of Russia, its birches, fields, northern white nights. No matter what Ulanova danced, she was always Russian, it was Russian charm, Russian shyness, Russian spiritual power, Russian “melancholy”. Perhaps that is why she is our national pride.
Ulanova is a mystery. When I look at her, I always imagine Vermeer’s paintings… It seems to me her secret is to understand how to make your inner feelings visible. On stage she lived a deep life filled with life, and had not only a dance technique, but also an extraordinary soulfulness. She is the kind of one who reveals very slowly, in her dance sometimes there is not something that immediately catches the eye, but in it there is a deep truth that enters you gradually, revealing the true mystery of art. Galina Ulanova is a ballerina who has mastered the deepest mystery of art. She managed to combine feelings and their external expression into one invisible whole.
Back when I was studying ballet in America, Galina Ulanova was for me the embodiment of Russian ballet. More than anything else, I was fascinated by the frank and sincere humanity that shone in Ulanova’s eyes. I was touched by the human being – a beautiful woman, so magnificently transmitting in the dance believable human situations. She was never just a ballerina who amazed you with her virtuosity. It was this unforgettable image of a woman, transparent in her tangible spirituality, that inspired and guided me to my own creative quest. With deep respect and the greatest admiration I will remember ballerina Ulanova, and in my heart I will always miss this woman.
Dying swan”… Galina Ulanova dances… there are no scenery on stage, but the ballerina as if brought the autumn coolness of a quiet lake, the light of the cold moon, which reflects the shadow of a lonely swan. In her gestures – the memories of spring gone, of love, suffering…
Mei Lan Fan
The Ulanova’s Dance is a combination of incredible spirituality and technique. In it, as in the architecture of ancient temples, the perfect balance and harmony of all elements.
It’s a miracle. Now we know what we don’t have. I can’t express in words what Ulanova’s dance is, it’s such magic that I remain in mute admiration.
When Galina Ulanova arrived in Florence to Italy… and she danced… …I finally saw her, saw her. and I recognized her as a Prophet. For all of us, for all my family and for the great family of the Italian theater, Galina Ulanova embodied a very real and infinite idea, the idea of radiant love, which exists, regardless of us, for all time.
Unfortunately, I’ve never seen Ulanova on stage. But, of course, I’ve seen all the films with her participation, and, as everyone else, I admired her art. I was honoured to accept the award that I received at the Moscow International Festival in 1969. I remembered her ease of handling. And at the same time, to become her. I felt the extraordinary aura that surrounded her and was celebrated by everyone who was lucky enough to see her close in life. I was one of those happy people. And I will never forget this day.
Only she, the first ballerina in the world, has been able to steadily… to go your way, always unassuming, modestly dressed, totally absorbed in the dance and totally immune to all sorts of theatrical intrigue. Her inner power, her human power. quality is the reason why she stays clean, not…of the theater’s depraved lifestyle.
It’s been 60 years since I left Russia. But my memories are getting closer the further away from that time… Ulanova’s performances gave her students a unique example, invaluable science and inspiration. Her movements were magnificent in their lightness and sonority, as if merging one into another, striking the softness of the endings. Anyone who has ever seen Ulanova on stage will never forget her. She was very graceful both in life and on stage. Galina Sergeyevna had the gift of creating the illusion of something supernatural in the play, as in Giselle’s second act. I was graduating from school a year before the war. Maria Alekseevna Kozhukhova was preparing to graduate her students. She asked Galina Sergeyevna to rehearse and prepare me for the third act of “Swan Lake”. It was so interesting and important for me to work with her, to see her approach to the role, her work on details. She worked on every movement of her legs, arms, every turn of her head, every look. I think we discussed every note and its transformation into a dance.
In front of me was a ballerina whose example and art awakened a desire to improve themselves by taking all her instructions and using all her advice. Then we met again. Now I often remember that distant and very difficult time, and in these memories comes to life a bright image of Galina Sergeyevna.
Violette Alvin (Prokhorova-Savarese)
Genius is not too strong a word for the dancing of Ulanova. In London, Galina Ulanova had in London knew the greatest triumph of any individual dancer since Anna Pavlova. She said, Typically, that she did not take credit for this conquest: it was not she who had made a conquest but the London audience, she said, which, by its warmth and sympathy, had enabled her to do her very best. Her modestyquietness, simplicity and complete disregard for the publicity hounds of the West puzzled reporters — but won her a very deep respect. In London she left the spectator with a feeling of being almost ennobled. of having been subjected to a great emotional and artistic experience. For this we shall ever be grateful.
For me, my memories of Ulanova are part of life itself, enriching her experience. For me, she is not a theatrical miracle, but a triumph of the human spirit. While Pavlova owned her audience and was able to play on her emotions as a musical instrument, Ulanova exists in the distance in her own world, where she has a privilege to penetrate. She is so fully identified with her heroine that there is nothing beyond that.
Arnold L. Haskell
After almost twenty years watching plays, films, operas, ballets and listening to music, I can say that her Giselle is the greatest acting performance I have ever seen. Her greatness is not what she does, but what she is.
London has never seen Ulanova before, but the legend of her lived here a long time ago. Legends are dangerous: ahead of the event itself, they are rarely and hardly confirmed in life. Not only has Ulanova’s art never known such discord, it has defeated the legend, appearing even more beautiful than it was thought and dreamed. The London tour proved it twice as well. The ballerina showed Russian Giselle and Russian Juliet, stunning the depth of these so famous images in European theatre. “The miracle still lies in the fact – wrote one of the newspapers – that Ulanova was seventeen Juliet, which only could dream of Shakespeare.
E. Sheveleva, a writer