The Gala, under the artistic direction of Andris Liepa, invited world-renowned dancers performing her favorite roles as well as works by choreographers that were originally created for Maya Plisetskaya, including Bolero and Carmen by Alberto Alonso.
To mark Plisetskaya’s passion for flamenco dance there was also a special flamenco virtuoso number.
The Gala also featured excerpts from Plisetskaya’s favorite roles performed by leading dancers from the Bolshoi, Mariinsky, Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, ballets of the Grand Opera Paris, Berlin Staatsoper, New York City Ballet and the Ballet of Monte Carlo who all performed in tribute to the great ballerina.
Matthew Golding, the principal of the Royal Ballet, performed an extract from Swan Lake with Russian ballerina Liudmila Konovalova.
Konovalova, the prima ballerina of the Vienna State Ballet whose career was launched in Russia after she won a competition organized by Plisetskaya, said of the performance:
“The last time I danced as the Black Swan she told me, ‘Don’t think about anything, just dance for you and for her’ — and tonight I did the same thing. I was dancing for her. It was a magical and emotional night. I think one of the great London ballet nights.”
“The energy was special and I know Maya was watching like the great artist she was and supporting us,” said Andris Liepa.
“I felt from backstage, the audience received our energy and gave it back with love for her and love for ballet. You see how people danced, it was not just at full force, it was a surfeit of emotions and the audience loved it. Because when we talk about Maya it is something super, not just good but super.”
The evening was part of an annual Russian Ballet Icons Gala which was created in 2006 by Ensemble Productions to celebrate Plisetskaya’s 80th birthday.