Galina Ulanova sewing pointe shoes. Photo courtesy DM Archives

#tbt: Galina Ulanova on Approaching Ballet With Childlike Wonder

In the November 1954 issue of Dance Magazine, we shared excerpts from an autobiographical essay written by Galina Ulanova. Reflecting on her memories of performing small roles as a self-professedly reluctant ballet student, she wrote, "Belief comes so easily in childhood. And what a pity it is that this belief in what is happening on the stage...is so difficult to preserve afterwards, and that one has to work so hard, sometimes so painfully, before one can 'get into the skin' of a role and believe in it so utterly that the audience will believe in it too. Yes, in part my 'performances' of those days were the playing of a child who believes in its imagination more than it does reality." Arguably the first great ballerina of Soviet Russia, she danced with both the Kirov and the Bolshoi, touring with the latter across Europe and to the U.S. to great popular acclaim.

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