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 Ninel Alexandrovna Kurgapkina

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Ninel Alexandrovna Kurgapkina

  • Birth 13 Feb 1929 Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia
  • Death 8 May 2009 Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia
  • Burial Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia
  • Memorial ID 37198546

Ballet Dancer. As prima ballerina of the famed Kirov Ballet, she was the first partner of both Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshinikov. Raised in Leningrad by a working-class family, she studied at the Vaganova Ballet Academy where she was one of the last pupils of the legendary Agrippina Vaganova. During World War II she entertained Soviet troops under difficult conditions, and for two decades afterwards she was one of top stars of Russian dance. Having a physique that was a bit muscular for a ballerina, she compensated with an exuberant style that fitted her perfectly for such characters as Princess Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty", Jeanne in "Flames of Paris", and Kitri in "Don Quixote", as well as her only created role, Anna Andreevna in Oleg Vinogradov's "Revisor". Kurgapkina had a somewhat ambivalent relationship with the Soviet system. In 1959 she was chosen to provide entertainment at a lavish garden party put on by Soviet leaders Krushchev and Bulganin, and in 1974 she was honored as People's Artist of the USSR. Yet she continued to support Nureyev after his defection, even partnering with him in Paris. Retiring at 52, she became a respected teacher, first at the Vagnova School for nine years, then at the Marinsky Ballet, until her death in a motor vehicle accident.

Bio by: Bob Hufford





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 17 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 37198546
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ninel Alexandrovna Kurgapkina (13 Feb 1929–8 May 2009), Find A Grave Memorial no. 37198546, citing Literatorskie Mostki, Saint Petersburg, Saint Petersburg Federal City, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .