Makarova reunited with the Kirov in August 1988 in London, dancing opposite Konstantin Zaklinsky.

Nina Alovert, Courtesy DM Archives

Celebrate Natalia Makarova's 80th Birthday With These Rarely Seen Archival Photos

November 21 marks Natalia Makarova's 80th birthday.

The ballerina made international headlines in September 1970 when she defected from the Soviet Union while on tour with the Kirov Ballet in London. That December, she made her American Ballet Theatre debut, an association that altered the company's trajectory.


"In ballet, stardom doesn't come overnight as it does in Hollywood," she told Dance Magazine in the August 1985 issue, "...because we work every single day of our lives to improve ourselves...So if a dancer becomes a star, that stardom has been won through the sweat of our brows."

Makarova found success outside of ballet as well, winning Tony and Olivier awards for her performances in the musical On Your Toes. She continues to coach at ABT.

Wayne J. Shilkret, Courtesy DM Archives

Makarova in the Kirov's Swan Lake, September 1964

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Marcie Parker, Courtesy Red Door Dance Academy

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