Letters to Ulanova

Dear Galina Sergeevna,

I watched you last night in Cinderella and I was in tears the whole time. Such is the impact on me of the presence of all that is truly great close by in space… How did you manage to extract plastic and spiritual continuity from the discontinuous, conventional, disintegrating into fragments art of ballet? I did not set out to tell you anything that you do not already know. You are used to stronger epithets and praise and to avowals that are more profuse. This is natural and you deserve it.
My old heart is with you

Boris Pasternak

Dear Galina Sergeevna,

When you stopped dancing, we stopped going to the ballet. You heard of this by chance, remember? And all you said was: “That is a mistake!”. Today we again attend ballet performances and we rejoice at the success of the Ulanova pupils. It is a rare gift to be able to convey what one has learnt generously, secrets and all…But for us you are as before a living ideal, which today too, is unattainable, and beckons one!

Nina Dorliak, Svyatoslav Richter

Dear, wonderful Galya, Goddess!
I kiss you and embrace you.

Alexei Tolstoy

Dear Galya,

You always seem even to me to be enclosed in a world of your own, as if you are listening to something, but nothing, I am sure, escapes your attention, your eyes, your soul.
Yuri Zavadsky

My dear, beautiful Galina Sergeevna, I always want to say that to you. I want you to know that to see you, your art – is the highest form of happiness!

Faina Ranevskaya

Dear Galina Sergeyevna!

In spring 1954, you and the Bolshoi Moscow Theatre dancers’ troupe finally visited Paris. Unfortunately, your performances at the Opera were not held then, for reasons beyond your control. You left France and we did not meet. I saw your rehearsals from afar, from the gallery, and I admired your art…

I got the chance to see you on stage again in London, in 1956; With what admired feeling I experienced your anxiety and your excitement at the rehearsals and the play “Giselle”, when, looking at you, I was carried away after your inspired experience or the “soul full of flight … I was proud to present you and your partner Fadeechev prizes of the Choreographic Institute – prizes named after Pavlova and Nizhinsky in 1958 …

Serge Lifar

Dear Galina Sergeevna!

You belong not to yourself, but to us, the people! It is a patriotic feeling – to raise you aloft on the pedestal of fame! I kneel before you as a token of my respect for your hard work and your art.

M.N. Nesmashnaya

Remember always, dear Galina Ulanova, that there are hearts, and a great many, I believe, in which there burns a moral, pure fire, lit and ‘kept up’ by yourself, and which will only be extinguished at the moment of death.
Your loving,

Regina Nikolaevna Repina

Dear Galina Sergeevna,

No one ever asked how you danced. They asked: “Did you see Ulanova? When, with the passage of time, we speak of a minor poet, we say: “He wrote”, but of Pushkin we say: “He writes”. Great art is here for keeps. You will never be in the past, but always in the present and future.

Irakly Andronnikov

Dear Galina Sergeyevna!

I’d like to remind you that you were patronizing Hospital 2560 on Kuibyshev Street, where you often performed in front of sick fighters with concerts… How much joy you brought to the hospital these mutilated, crippled people. I would like to remind you: once you performed in front of the sick in the auditorium. It was for those who could walk, move on crutches, and those who lay could not go. There were such people in room 9 – 20 wounded stumps without arms and legs, and they also wanted to watch and listen to music, forget for a time their mutilated appearance of a man. And after the concert in the assembly hall, I decided to come up to you and ask you to perform in front of the seriously injured. You’ve already changed your clothes. I told you about these poor people, and despite your fatigue, you dressed again (back) and performed in front of your wounded. The room was so crowded and it was stuffy for you to perform – it was a little patch. But how much joy you brought to the wounded! They forgot that they had no arms or legs and could not applaud you. But with such a sense of deep respect, they said their sincere thanks. And after your performance they felt cheerful, called you affectionate sister’s name, and as if their fingers were moving on their hands and feet, which they did not have.I would like to thank you very much for your sensitive and attentive attitude to the sick and wounded soldiers during the Patriotic War. I myself am a native of the city. I was evacuated to hospital 2560 in Moscow from Lithuania during the Great Patriotic War. Excuse me, please, for the letter. I’m very sorry about the letter.

Nurse Dinaria Mikhailovna Polyakova

A photograph of you in Swan Lake stands on the table in our dug-out. The photograph bears the traces of fascist bullets. We found it in a village from which, two days ago, we ousted the enemy. Now, every day, we place flowers before it.

Soldier Alexei Dorogush

Dear Galina Sergeyevna!

Today I’m writing from Medsanbat (there are things in war). Your letter has also come here. The wound is easy. I’m recovering. But it’s not so important. There’s something else I have to tell you today. I want you to know more.
one name – the name of Yuri Igrinev. A blonde, loving young man, in a striped sea vest. He’s the one who took your picture in the lieutenant’s room and brought it to us. We are slowly but surely moving forward. Igrinev is gone… On the last night he wrote in the far sunny Alma-Ata – his beloved now lives there.
In the same pocket lay “wounded swan”. Now there are three wounds and the blood of Igrinev in your picture. I took the “Swan” for myself. I promise to return this picture to you after the war. In the meantime, the Swan sends its regards.
Soldier Alexei Dorogush
Dear Galina Ulanova,
You are a great ballerina but, unfortunately, not of my youth, but of that of my mother.
Perhaps you remember an evening at the Bolshoi Theatre in celebration of your jubilee well, my mother, before turning on the television, scrubbed the whole room in a way she had never done before, and when the time came for the program, she sat, crying in front of the telly….
Many fine and great people have admired you, but I wish to send you the admiration and love of an ordinary woman, a Leningrader born and bred, my mother, Alla Kuzminichna Larionova, who has loved you all her life.
I kiss your hands and thank you for everything.

Julia Larionova