Ballet legend Lepeshinskaya dies at 92

MOSCOW (AFP) - Legendary Russian ballerina Olga Lepeshinskaya, who performed with the Bolshoi Ballet for 30 years during the Soviet era, has died at age 92, Russian news agencies reported Saturday.

Ballet legend Lepeshinskaya dies at 92
"She has fallen asleep never to awaken again," a member of the dancer's family told the Itar-Tass news agency Saturday. President Dmitry Medvedev joined many Russian political and artistic leaders in paying tribute to the ballerina who was born in Kiev in 1916.

She joined the Bolshoi in 1933 and during her 30-year-career was awarded the Stalin Prize, the highest artistic accolade given under the hardline Soviet rule of Joseph Stalin, four times.

She was renowned for her prima ballerina roles in such classics as The Barber of Seville, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote and Sleeping Beauty.

Lepeshinskaya had been very ill in recent years and appeared rarely in public, but "each time she did it was cause for celebration for people who love ballet and remember her on stage," said Bolshoi star dancer, Nikolai Tsiskaridze.

Red Army veterans recalled on Russian television the ballerina's courage during World War II when she performed before troops at the war front.

After retiring from the stage, she taught classical ballet Moscow, Rome, Tokyo, Vienna and Munich.

A funeral will be held in Moscow on Tuesday after a farewell tribute by the Bolshoi, news agencies said.

Monday, December 22nd 2008

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