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Maya Plisetskaya: The Jewish Ballerina and the Stalinist Regime. A presentation by Guy Baum.

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115 (map)

Free event at the Jewish Community Library at 1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, with free garage parking on Pierce between Ellis and Eddy


Maya Plisetskaya (1925-2015) was a prima ballerina assoluta, a rare honor reserved for only the most exceptional dancers, in the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. Born to Jewish parents who were arrested during the Stalinist persecutions of the late 1930s (her father was later executed), she was adopted by her aunt, Sulamith Mikhailovna Messerer, a ballerina and choreographer. Despite the regime’s intention to limit her success, Plisetskaya became a cultural icon not only for her unforgettable performances and physical ability, but also for what she symbolized: a stand against oppression. Guy Baum’s multimedia presentation will include rare footage of Plisetskaya’s performance of Swan Lake at the Bolshoi Theater as well as other video clips that capture some of her unforgettable dancing moments.

Guy Baum is a dance researcher and ballet studies expert. A former dancer and dance critic, he is head of the Community and Foreign Relations Department of the Israel Ballet.

Program made possible, in part, by Tricia Hellman Gibbs.