Natalia Makarova

Natalia Makarova
Nataliya Makarova
Born October 21, 1940 (1940-10-21) (age 71)
Leningrad, Russia, USSR
Other names Natasha Makarova
Occupation Ballet dancer, choreographer
Years active 1950s-present
Spouse Edward Karkar

Nataliya Romanovna Makarova (Russian: Наталья Романовна Макарова, born October 21, 1940) is the legendary Soviet-Russian-born prima ballerina. The History of Dance, published in 1981, notes that “Her performances set standards of artistry and aristocracy of dance which mark her as the finest ballerina of her generation.” She has also won awards as an actress.



Natalia Makarova began her career in her native Leningrad, entering the renowned Vaganova School (Formerly the Imperial Ballet School) at the age of 13 where she was placed in a special experimental class condensing the nine-year program into six. After graduating in 1959, she joined the Kirov Ballet, rapidly rising to the rank of Ballerina. She came to international prominence when she danced Giselle with the Kirov Ballet in London in 1961, which became one of her signature roles.

On September 4, l970, while on tour in London with the Kirov, Makarova requested asylum in Britain - a defection which stunned the ballet world. She began her new career by joining the American Ballet Theatre, making her debut with the Company in Giselle on Dec 22, 1970. She danced American Ballet Theatre’s vast repertory including all the classical ballets & their contemporary repertoire - working extensively with Choreographers Antony Tudor (Dark Elegies, The Lilac Garden, Pillar of Fire, Romeo and Juliet), George Balanchine (Theme and Variations, Apollo), Jerome Robbins (Other Dances) and Glen Tetley (Voluntaries, Contredances).

Her association with The Royal Ballet began in 1972 dancing ballets by Macmillan including Manon, Romeo & Juliet, and Song of the Earth; Ashton’s Month in the Country & Cinderella and many other ballets from the Royal’s repertoire. Makarova has appeared as Guest Artist with ballet companies around the world including Paris Opera Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Neumeier’s Hamburg Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Berlin Ballet, London Festival Ballet, La Scala Ballet, Munich Ballet, Bejart’s Ballet of the 20th Century; Roland Petit’s Ballet de Marseille; Royal Swedish Ballet & Teatro Municipal Rio de Janeiro, Ballet de Santiago, Pact Ballet Johannesburg; Scottish National Ballet & Australia’s Victoria Ballet.

Among the ballets and pas de deux created for Makarova are Robbin’s Other Dances (with Baryshnikov); Ashton’s Le Rossignol (with Dowell), Tetley’s Contredances (with Dowell); a MacMillan Pas de deux (with MacLeary), John Neumeier's Epilogues (with Erik Bruhn), Petit’s Blue Angel; Bejart’s Mephisto (With Jorge Donn); Sacre du Printemps (Taras); Four Seasons (Choreography Serge Lifar) from I Vespri Siciliani (Maria Callas staged her first operatic production – Torino); Neumeier’s Elegie a Pas de Deux (with Patrick Bissell); Meditation by Haigen; Giulietta Masina in Fellini by Van Hoecke (with Jean Babilee).

Makarova staged the Kingdom of the Shades from La Bayadère for American Ballet Theatre in l974. In 1980 she staged the full-length production of La Bayadère. American Ballet Theatre was the first Western company to acquire this work. Her production included for the first time since 1919 a reconstruction of the last act, with Makarova’s choreography after Marius Petipa, restoring the original dramatic structure and impact of this early masterpiece.

Makarova’s A Dance Autobiography was published by Knopf in 1979. In 1991 she recorded a narration of The Snow Queen, Prince Ivan and The Frog Princess and The Firebird for Delos Records. She added a new dimension to her multi-faceted career when she made her musical comedy debut in 1983 on Broadway in On Your Toes, winning numerous awards including the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and in 1984, she starred in the West End, London production of On Your Toes, for which she won the Laurence Olivier Award.

On February 1, 1989, after 19 years’ absence, Makarova was the first artistic exile to be invited back to perform in the Soviet Union. She returned to her native Leningrad where she was reunited with her family, friends, former colleagues & teachers and danced with the Kirov Ballet on the stage where she began her illustrious career. Makarova donated her costume from Onegin & pointe shoes to the Ballet Museum in Leningrad commemorating her last performance in classical ballet. A documentary of her historic visit, Makarova Returns, was shown on BBC television.

In 1991, she made her debut as a dramatic actress in the Chichester Festival’s production of Tovarich, which transferred to the West End in London. She returned to Russia in 1992 in the play Two for the Seesaw, giving performances in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1997 she starred in the Chichester Festival production of George Bernard Shaw’s play Misalliance. She appeared in the l999 Charleston Festival in a special presentation of the letters of Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes in a play called Wooing in Absence. In January 2000, she was invited to perform the play at the Tate Gallery in London and in 2001 at Lincoln Center in New York. In 2000, she also appeared as Elvira in Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Palace Theatre in England.

Natalia Makarova continues to stage classical ballets throughout the world passing on her knowledge to a new generation of dancers. In 2010 American Ballet Theatre celebrated the 30th Anniversary of her production of La Bayadère at the Metropolitan Opera House and in November, in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Mariinsky Theatre paid tribute to her in a Gala performance in her honor.

Personal life

In 1976 Makarova married industrialist Edward Karkar. Together they have a son, Andrei Mikhail, born February 1978.[1]


  • 1960’s – Russian Soviet Federation Socialist Republic Merited Artist
  • 1965 – Varna International Ballet Competition – Gold Medal
  • 1970 – Anna Pavlova Prize & Critic’s Award, Paris
  • 1977 – Dance Magazine Award
  • 1979 – Mother of the Year Award
  • 1980 – A Dance Autobiography, Knopf Publishers, 1979. – Certificate of Excellence – American Institute of Graphic Arts – Selected for Exhibition
  • 1983 – Tony Award Best Actress in a Musical – On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 – Drama Desk Award – On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 – Theatre World Award – On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 – Astaire Award – On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 – Outer Critics Circle Award – On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1983 – Stanislavsky Award – On Your Toes (Broadway)
  • 1984 – Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical – On Your Toes, London
  • 1985 – London Evening Standard Award – for the Best Performance of 1985 in the ballet Onegin. Presented on stage by Princess Diana after Makarova’s performance of Onegin in 1986, London
  • 1986 – Emmy Award Nomination for Ballerina a 4 Part Documentary TV series, which was conceived, written & narrated by Makarova, BBC London/WNET
  • 1991/92 – American Library Association Award – for Makarova’s recordings of the stories Snow Maiden, The Frog Princess & Firebird – Delos Records
  • 1993 – Distinguished Artist Award – Los Angeles
  • 2000 – Artistic Achievement Award – Mexico
  • 2004 – Artistic Achievement Award from the School of American Ballet



As Permanent Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre & the Royal Ballet her repertoire included: American Ballet Theatre: Lilac Garden; Dark Elegies; Romeo & Juliet & Pillar of Fire; Theme & Variations & Apollo; La Bayadère; Kingdom of the Shades; Coppelia; Voluntaries; Fille Mal Gardee; La Sylphide; Don Quixote; Nutcracker; Raymonda Act 3; Contredances; Sacre du Printemps (Tetley); Firebird; Concerto; Giselle; Swan Lake; Romeo & Juliet (MacMillan); Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, Other Dances; Epilogue; Miraculous Mandarin; Pas de Quatre; The River; Études; Moor's Pavane; Romeo & Juliet Pas de Deux (Tchernishov); Desir & Wild Boy. Royal Ballet: - Manon; Song of the Earth; A Month in the Country; Concerto; Cinderella; Voluntaries; Dances at a Gathering; Serenade; Elite Syncopations; Month in the Country; Concerto; Checkmate; Les Biches; Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet; Swan Lake, Giselle, The Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides, Van Manen’s Adagio Hammerklavier; MacMillan Pas de Deux & Ashton’s Dream Pas de Deux.

As Guest Artist with ballet companies throughout the world her repertoire included: the classical repertoire (Giselle, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide) and Onegin (Cranko); Notre Dame de Paris, Carmen, Proust, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (Petit); Romeo and Juliet (Cranko), Swan Lake (Cranko), Neumeier’s Illusions - Like Swan Lake 2nd Act, Bach Sonata (Bejart); Nutcracker (Neumeier); Romeo & Juliet (full-length version Tchernishov); Le Rossignol (Ashton); Rosalinda (Hynd); Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux (Balanchine); Apparitions (Ashton); Afternoon of a Faun (Robbins); Meditation (Haigen) The Real McCoy (Feld) The Lesson (Flindt), The Toreador (Bourneville); Dying Swan; Corsaire Pas de Deux & Don Quixote Pas de Deux.

Productions - Staged & Directed by Natalia Makarova (first stagings)

  • 1974 – Kingdom of the Shades – American Ballet Theatre
  • 1980 – La Bayadère – American Ballet Theatre
  • 1983 – Paquita – American Ballet Theatre
  • 1984 – Kingdom of the Shades – National Ballet of Canada
  • 1985 – Kingdom of the Shades – London Festival Ballet
  • 1986 – Kingdom of the Shades – Teatro Municipal – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
  • 1988 – Swan Lake – London Festival Ballet
  • 1989 – La Bayadère – Royal Swedish Ballet
  • 1989 – La Bayadère – Royal Ballet – Covent Garden – London
  • 1991 – Paquita – National Ballet of Canada
  • 1991 – Paquita - Universal Ballet Company of Seoul, Korea
  • 1992 – La Bayadère – La Scala Ballet
  • 1992 – La Bayadère – Teatro Colon, Argentina
  • 1997 – La Bayadère – Finnish National Ballet
  • 1997 – La Bayadère – Ballet de Santiago, Chile
  • 1998 – La Bayadère – Australian Ballet
  • 2000 – Kingdom of the Shades – San Francisco Ballet
  • 2000 – Giselle – Royal Swedish Ballet
  • 2000 – La Bayadère – Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro
  • 2001 – Swan Lake – Teatro Municipal, Rio de Janeiro
  • 2002 – La Bayadère – Hamburg Ballet
  • 2003 – Sleeping Beauty – Royal Ballet – Covent Garden – London
  • 2002 – Paquita – San Francisco Ballet
  • 2004 – La Bayadère – Theatr Wieki Opera Narodowa, Warsaw, Poland
  • 2005 – Swan Lake – Perm Ballet Russia
  • 2007 – La Bayadère – Dutch National Ballet
  • 2007 – Swan Lake – National Ballet of China
  • 2008 – La Bayadère – Corella Ballet, Teatro Real, Madrid
  • 2009 – La Bayadère – Tokyo Ballet


  • 1970 – BBC-TV – Black Swan Pas de Deux with Rudolf Nureyev & Dying Swan
  • 1976 – Swan Lake with Ivan Nagy at the Metropolitan Opera House – Live from Lincoln Center – American Ballet Theatre.
  • 1976 – Don Quixote Pas de deux & Giselle Act 2 (Partner Baryshnikov) BBC TV London.
  • 1977 – Giselle with Mikhail Baryshnikov at the Metropolitan Opera House – Live From Lincoln Center - American Ballet Theatre
  • 1978 – Don Quixote Pas de Deux with Fernando Bujones at the Metropolitan Opera House – Live From Lincoln Center – American Ballet Theatre.
  • 1978 – Jerome Robbin’s Other Dances with Mikhail Baryshnikov - WNET
  • 1979 – Assoluta – Natalia Makarova – BBC TV, London
  • 1979 – The Magic of Dance
  • 1980 – Makarova’s production of La Bayadère with Anthony Dowell at the Metropolitan Opera House - Live from Lincoln Center – American Ballet Theatre
  • 1980 – Swan Lake with Anthony Dowell – Royal Ballet, Thames TV, London
  • 1981 – The President's Command Performance– The Inaugural Gala Performance for President Elect Ronald Reagan, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
  • 1983 – Stars Salute the President – Ford Theatre, Washington, DC (For President Reagan)
  • 1984 – Gala of the Stars– Proust (Petit) with Cragun & Begin the Beguine (Gennaro) with Cryst, WNET, Radio City, New York
  • 1985 – Natasha - Natalia Makarova – National Video Corporation/Kultur USA
  • 1985 – American Ballet Theater in San Francisco– National Video Corp.
  • 1985 – In a Class of Her Own– Natalia Makarova – THAMES TV – London
  • 1985 – American Ballet Theatre at the Met– Makarova’s PAQUITA filmed at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York
  • 1986 – Ballerina– 4 Part series for BBC TV
  • 1988 – The First International Erik Bruhn Competition – Guest Appearance by Natalia Makarova
  • 1988 – Reunion With the Kirov Ballet - White Swan with Zaklinsky – BBC London live Broadcast
  • 1988 – Romeo & Juliet (MacMillan) with Kevin Mckenzie at the Metropolitan Opera House – Live from Lincoln Center – American Ballet Theatre.
  • 1989 – Makarova Returns – BBC-TV, London/Kultur, USA
  • 1989 – Lenningrad Legend – BBC-TV Omnibus,London/ Kultur USA
  • 1989 – Swan Lake – Natalia Makarova’s Production for London Festival Ballet
  • 1991 – La Bayadère – Natalia Makarova’s Production for the Royal Ballet – From Covent Garden – Cameras Continentales, Amaya & Thames
  • 1991 – A Portrait of Giselle
  • 1994 – BBC Great Railway Journeys– St. Petersburg to Tashkent - Written & Presented by Natalia Makarova
  • 2007 – La Bayadère – Natalia Makarova’s production for La Scala Ballet, Milan.
  • 2009 – La Bayadère – Natalia Makarova’s production for the Royal Ballet, Covent Garden, London.
  • 2011 – Natalia Makarova Two Lives - Russian Documentary

See also

  • List of Eastern Bloc defectors


  1. ^ "Biography: Natalia Makarova". American Ballet Theatre. 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 

Further reading

  • Makarova, Natalia (1979). A Dance Autobiography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0394501411. 
  • Austin, Richard (1974). The Ballerina. London: Vision Press Limited. 
  • Zozulina, Natalia (1990). Natalia Makarova - 18 Years Later. Leningrad. 
  • Makarova, Natalia (1994). Great Railway Journeys: St Petersburg to Tashkent. London: BBC Books. 
  • Ballerina - The Art of Women in Classical Ballet. London: BBC Books. 1987. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Natalia Medvedeva — Carrière professionnelle 1987 – 1998 …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Natalia Bondartchouk — Natalia Sergueïevna Bondartchouk (en russe : Наталья Сергеевна Бондарчук) est une actrice et réalisatrice russe née le 10 mai 1950 à Moscou, en Union soviétique. Elle est la fille du réalisateur Sergueï Bondartchouk et d Inna Makarova. Selon …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Makarova, Natalia — ▪ Russian ballerina in full  Natalia Romanovna Makarova   born Oct. 21, 1940, Leningrad [St. Petersburg], Russia, U.S.S.R.       Russian born ballerina considered to be one of the greatest classical dancers.       Makarova began her training at… …   Universalium

  • Makarova — /meuh kahr euh veuh/; Russ. /mu kah rddeuh veuh/, n. Natalia /neuh tal yeuh, tahl /; Russ. /nu tah lyeuh/, born 1940, Soviet ballerina, in the U.S. and England since 1970. * * * …   Universalium

  • Makarova — /meuh kahr euh veuh/; Russ. /mu kah rddeuh veuh/, n. Natalia /neuh tal yeuh, tahl /; Russ. /nu tah lyeuh/, born 1940, Soviet ballerina, in the U.S. and England since 1970 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Makarova, Natalia (Romanovna) — born Oct. 21, 1940, Leningrad, Russia, U.S.S.R. Russian ballerina. She trained in Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and joined the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Ballet in 1959 to become a leading ballerina. In 1970 she defected while on tour in London and soon… …   Universalium

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