21 Dec 2008

Russian dancer Lepeshinskaya dies

7:07 am on 21 December 2008

Renowned Russian ballerina Olga Lepeshinskaya has died at the age of 92.

Culture Ministry spokeswoman Nataliya Uvarova told Tass agency that Lepeshinskaya died in Moscow on Saturday.

She described Lepeshinskaya, who danced with the Bolshoi for over 30 years and won several awards during her career, as an "outstanding" ballerina.

Lepeshinskaya will lie in state in the Bolshoi Theatre, in Moscow, on Tuesday and be buried on the same day.

Lepeshinskaya was born on 15 September 1916 in Kiev. After graduating from the Moscow Choreographic School she enrolled in the Bolshoi Theatre where she danced from 1933 to 1963.

The BBC reports she became known for her exhilarating performances and powerful technique.

Lepeshinskaya's repertoire included Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Lise in Gorsky's version of La Fille Mal Gardee, Kitri in Don Quixote, Tao Hoa in The Red Poppy, Jeanne in The Flame of Paris, Aurora in Sleeping Beauty and Masha in The Nutcracker.

In 1941, she was among the first laureates of the Stalin Prize for her performance in Don Quixote.

In all, Lepesinskaya received four Stalin Prizes during her career.

After retiring from the stage, she began teaching classical ballet both in the Soviet Union and in countries like France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Sweden and China.