She starts to receive invitations to dance in Moscow; in her exercise book, we read:
- December. 20th Concert, OGPU (abbrev. for State Political Administration. Soviet security service from 1922-34-tr.n.) Moscow. La Bayadere, snake dance.
26th. Concert. Music-Hell, Moscow. Our first performance ct e concert open to the public.
- Mey. Sleeping Beauty furore, 16th — my $th yeer
es professional bellet dencer.
- February. 18th Nutcracker Sergeyev.
There is mounting interest in her personality and her popularity with the public is growing, but the ballerina herself realizes that:
…there is more to professionalism than dance technique. When we left ballet school, we were well trained in dance, but it cannot be said we were very well educated. It is a great fortune I have met really remarkable people. In general, much in my character and outlook was prompted not just by the circumstances of my own life, but also by conversations with outstanding people, whose minds and talent left an indelible impression on me. Conductor Alexander Gauk, for instance, introduced us to serious music. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Lyadov — we listened to their works time and again at the Leningrad Philharmonia. Music, for me, is very special, perhaps the highest of the arts… Only one has to learn how to listen to it … I also went frequently to performances at the Alexandrinka [popular name for Alexandrinsky Theatre – trn.] … I met be Time-Kachalov family. Elizaveta Ivanovna Time, was a well-known dramatic actress, and her husband — Nikolai Nikolayevich Kachalov, a major scientist in the field of silicate technology… Most erudite and intelligent people, very welcoming and open.
Elizaveta Time — ” It was at Essentuki [a spa in the Caucasus trn.], in the hot summer of 1934, Nikolai Nikolaevich and l were walking to a spring along a shady avenue, rejoicing in flic fact we were on holiday and the beat, the white twin peak of Mount Elbrus and the cloudless sky. Suddenly, in front of us we saw flic graceful figure of a girl. A simple grey-blue dress clung to her well-trained body. Her ash-coloured hair gathered at the nape of the neck, as was then the fashion. Her small feet in white shoes advanced purposefully over the crunching gravel. Grace emanated from her every movement. Wc recognized her to be Galina Ulanova, one of the most talented ballet soloists …Her treatment at Essentuki was nearly over. …” And so we inivited Galya to go with us to Lake Seliger. Ulanova was subsequently to holiday at our dacha about the lake for seven years.
Early in the morning, only just giving herself time to breakfast, Ulanova would seat herself in the canoe and set off far out into the lake, which was often choppy and rough.
She would get back for lunch alighting from the canoe, Galya would walk along the shore with the light footed gait of someone who was not a bit tired and full or strength. That summer, Galina Sergeyevna was preparing to dance Marie in The Fountain of Bakhchisaray. Partly because of this our evening reading was devoted to Pushkin, his poetry, tragic life».
The Time-Kachalov home was always full of people, actors, artists, writers. And there Ulanova met Alexei Nikolayevich Tolstoy “his vitality astonished me, the ’large-scale nature‘ of everything he undertook … I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of outstanding theatre people — Korchagina- Alexandrovskaya, Yuriev, Pevtsov, Meyerhold… I listened to them and literally absorbed what they said like a sponge. Often the conversation would turn to ballet. Many of them loved ballet.
1934 — The Fountain of Bakhchisaray, a ballet on the theme of Pushkin’s poem is created and produced. Choreographer Rostislav Zakharov, director Sergei Radlov, composer Boris Asafiev. Brief note in exercise-book:
September. 22d. The Fountain of Bakhshisaray. Maria. Sergeyev. Dudko
Maria was the first role to be created for Ulanova, with account taken of her unique dramatic gift and all the nail of her creative individuality. She never ceased to work on this part which was of key importance in her creative biography:
I continue to work on Maria, finding for her new smiled, new expression in the arms, new plastic lines … I eventually managed to locate in Maria that state of equilibrium that is essential for every actor, when the characterization traits become organic .. . Success, a lot ins been written about the production.
1935 – February, entry exercise-book
February 27th Swan Lake. Odi-Ode.
She was anxious about how the Moscow public would react to her Odette-Odile.
During the performance, a note from Tolstoy, who was in the theatre, was delivered to my dressing-room; he wrote all was going well, and that after the performance hee would wait at the stage door for me and my Leningrad partner, Konstantin Sergeyev, and take us to dine at Gorky’s place, Need Isay how proud and happy I was?
April – the part of Diana in Cesare Pugni’s La Esmeralda.
June – The Leningrad Theatre of Opera and Ballet season in Moscow, at the Bolshoi Theatre. After this, Ulanova went to Barvikha [sanatorium in the Moscow area – tr.n.] to rest.
Also staying there then were Vasily Kachalov, Serge Eisenstein, Martiros Saryan. The latter drew us aIl in turn. To converse with such people was a real joy.
After the Moscow season, in an article headed «I am a Ballet Dancer», Ulanova writes as follows:
They have done another production of Swan Lake» I am the swan. I am already acquainted with the choreographer conception. I have though a lot about this role. A bewitched girl — a proud and tender being. I love her. I sought in myself for traits which are akin to her and, finding them, I rejoiced. How to express the character in plastic terms? How to demonstrate the charm of her bewitched femininity in thrall to a dream, the strength of her love and depth of her suffering? How to tell the story of her tragic death to die spectator! I spent a long time studying photographs of Anna Pavlova in her furious The Dying Swan, The arms! The most important thing are the arms — the eloquent, singing, flowing arms .. Once, I went to the zoo. Swans were swimming about or a large pond. I stood for some time observing them, following and taking in their movements. Their long, flexible necks expressed confidence, rapidity tenderness, pride, strenght, submissivness, obedience, grace, thousands of other traits.
And suddenly I was struck by a happy thought. My arms were my wing, and the neck – the graceful, eloquent, swans’s neck — surely in dance it could be the human body, provided the latter was flexible and strong?
This was how I created my Odette in Swan Lake. This was how, penetrating to the bedrock of the image, I prepared my Giselle, a sweet girl with a poetic soul, a little out if this world and my Maria from the Fountain of Bakchchisaray, a polish girl who experiences cruel captivity, unwanted love, and is the victim jealousy.
I look a long time to master Giselle, and this is the most sought for and loved role.
1936 – January — first right of Boris Asafiev’s ballet «Lost illusions» after Balzac.
The ballet was choreographed by Rostislav Zakharov, with book by Vladimir Dmitriev, the production’s scenographer. In preparing for the role of Corali in the new – for ballet – genre of realistic drama, Ulanova read widely on Balzac, studied the drawings and priors of the age.
In so far as concerns direction and acting there was a lot that was new, though in terms of dance Lost Illusions was not very successful. But even this ballet helped us in our future work.
In the firm belief that the most complex literary themes and characters were translatable into the medium of ballet, Ulanova assessed her work more critically than did critics and public. Ulanova was partnered in Lost illusions, and in Giselle and Swan Lake by Komiantin Mikhalovich Sergeyev.
«An extraordinary consonance of talent», recalls Elizaveta Time. «Making up this consonance was the harmony of an miner rhythm, breathing, precise, plastic interpretations The dance of Ulanova and Sergeyev’s was a single, artistic whole. It was dancing with Sergeyev that Ulanova, lifted high over his head, gazed for the first time into her partner’s face ever since, this movement has become generally accepted, obligatory wan. It expressed the desire not to interrupt for a single minute.