One of the older and definitely well-known ballet houses of Europe. The Bolshoi Ballet (Bolshoi means grand) surprisingly enough has its origins in the Moscow orphanage circ 1773. In this year the orphanage's council decided that their charges should have ballet training. A dancer from St. Petersburg's Court Theatre, Filippo Beccari, offered to take the job.
Under Beccari the orphanage became the center of the development of ballet in Moscow. At the turn of the century Leopold Paradise took over from him and developed the Bolshoi's own unique style.
After the Revolution in 1917 the Communist government groomed the Bolshoi to be the major company in Russia. Maybe because of this the Moscow company was always more political in nature performing ballets such as Stone Flower, Spartacus and The Red Poppy all of which subscribe to the communist philosophy in some way.
The Bolshoi recently made their first visit to the United States in over a decade, to some acclaim [Lincoln Center July 2000].
The other famous ballet company in Russia is the Kirov Ballet centered in St. Petersburg.
The current main soloists of the Bolshoi (2001):
- Maria Alexandrova
- Maria Allash
- Nina Ananiashvili
- Anna Antonicheva
- Sergei Filin
- Nadezhda Gracheva
- Nina Kaptsova
- Svetlana Lunkina
- Nikolai Tsiskaridze New!
- Andrei Uvarov