The greatest of Russian ballerina
s during the Soviet period, that is after the talents nurtured in the St Petersburg
Ballet School and the Maryinsky Theatre
had fled west after the Revolution.
Born in 1910, daughter of another great dancer Maria Romanova, she was reluctant at first to enter the discipline of ballet, but at the age of 18 she danced the twin roole of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She came to study under the superlative ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova.
Ulanova created many of the classic Soviet ballet roles, such as The Fountain of Bakhchisarai. Her first appearance in the West was in 1945, in Vienna. She retired as a dancer in 1962 but continued to teach in ballet schools, and died in 1998.