Monument to Maya Plisetskaya

The monument to Maya Plisetskaya is the work of sculptor Viktor Mitroshin, installed in the center of Moscow, in Maya Plisetskaya Square, in 2015.

The square, named after the ballerina, appeared on Bolshaya Dmitrovka in 2015 on the site of a wasteland formed in 2005 after the demolition of the old house No. 14 for further development, in which the poet Vladislav Khodasevich spent his childhood. In 2013, graffiti by Brazilian artist Eduardo Cobra appeared on the demolished side wall of neighboring house No. 16. with the image of Maya Plisetskaya as Odette from the ballet “Swan Lake.” The work, created as part of the MOST Moscow Street art festival and timed to coincide with the ballerina’s 88th birthday, attracted the attention of Muscovites. In 2015, the “failure” between the houses was landscaped, and the resulting square was named after the ballerina.

A year later, on the initiative of Maya Plisetskaya’s husband and widower, Rodion Shchedrin, a monument to the ballerina was erected in the park. Its author is the Ural sculptor Viktor Mitroshin, who was acquainted with Maya Plisetskaya and performed her sculptural portraits during the artist’s life. Maya Plisetskaya is presented in the image of Carmen. The model for the creation of the monument was the ballerina Tatyana Predeina.

The opening took place on November 20, 2016, the birthday of Plisetskaya.

Maya Mikhailovna Plisetskaya was a Soviet and Russian ballet dancer, choreographer, ballet director, and actress. In post-Soviet times, she held both Lithuanian and the citizenship of Spain. She danced during the Soviet era at the Bolshoi Theatre under the directorship of Leonid Lavrovsky, then of Yury Grigorovich. In 1960, when famed Russian ballerina Galina Ulanova retired, Plisetskaya became prima ballerina assoluta of the company.

Her early years were marked by political repression and loss. Her father, Mikhail Plisetski, a Soviet official, was arrested in 1937 and executed in 1938 during the Great Purge. Her mother, actress Rachel Messerer, was arrested in 1938 and imprisoned for a few years, then held in a concentration camp with her infant son, Azari. The older children were faced with the threat of being put in an orphanage but were cared for by maternal relatives. Maya was adopted by their aunt Sulamith Messerer, and Alexander was taken into the family of their uncle Asaf Messerer; both Alexander and Azary eventually became solo dancers of the Bolshoi.

Plisetskaya studied ballet at The Bolshoi Ballet School from age nine, and she first performed at the Bolshoi Theatre when she was eleven. She studied ballet under the direction of Elizaveta Gerdt and her aunt, Sulamith Messerer. She graduated in 1943 at eighteen and joined the Bolshoi Ballet Company, quickly rising to become their leading soloist. In 1959, during the Thaw Time, she started to tour outside the country with the Bolshoi, then on her own.

Nearest metro: Ohotny Ryad.

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