Days Ulanova – Famous Ballerina Brought To Life

Days Ulanova

I own Days Ulanova in hard cover and it is extremely interesting reading, especially if you are interested in the history of ballet or dance of any kind. If you would like to find out how to get a copy, just click on the link above or the picture of the book.

Days Ulanova Review

Galina Ulanova has become one of those legend ballerina’s from her time.

The author of Days Ulanova has done a sterling job of this book, and he also happened to meet her during the late spring of 1959 during her visit to the United States. His first impressions of her were of a lady of striking simplicity and an utter lack of pretension, who had a ‘mixture of shyness and trenchant candor.’

With the help of some linguistic skills of a Soviet Journalist, the interview lasted for a couple of hours and covered a variety of topics. She did not hide her extreme nervousness at having to dance Romeo and Juliet the following evening, as she was worried how an American Audience would react. Albert Kahn came away from that interview feeling as though he had just met a woman who was as extraordinary as she seemed ordinary.

Nevertheless, the Bolshoi Ballet received ecstatic acclaim as they performed for American Audiences, and everywhere the legend of Ulanova came alive for those who saw her dance. The New York Times described her as ‘the wonder of the world.’ulanova days

Ulanova believed that to make music visible, it is the dancer’s task. ‘The dance is the embodiment of music in movement. Just as letters go into the making of words, and words into the making of sentences, so separate movements combine into the words and sentences of a dance.’

Just like the greatest poetry, Ulanova’s dancing speaks a language understood not only by trained dancers, but also by ordinary working men. Her message lies in its direct communication with the human heart, and her dancing was both a testament to a way of life and a song to life itself.

Ulanova’s Life in a Nutshell

Ulanova was born in 1910 in Leningrad. Her parents were both ballet dancers at the Mariinsky Theatre and they also gave ulanova daysfree recitals at night before film audiences in order to bring the arts nearer to the people. Ulanova remembers going with them as there was nobody to care for her at home. She remembers her mother as a hard worker.

She didn’t want to learn to dance initially but was forced to by her parents.  She started off her training at the ballet school in Leningrad in 1919.  No other ballet school in the world can boast of such illustrious graduates as attested by the pictures covering the walls in the room which now serves as a school museum. On these boards are dancers such as Fokine, Karsavina, Pavlova, Nijinsky, and of course, Ulanova.

She studied under her mother who combined her dancing at the Mariinsky Theatre with teaching at the school. Her mother retired from the stage in 1924 and devoted herself to teaching at the Leningrad school until the age of 64.

In the book, she recalls the horrors of both World Wars and what impacts they had on her life. She talks of her love for the Ballet School where she completed her training and shares valuable insights.

She made her debut in Leningrad’s Maryinsky Ballet in 1928 and was an instant success.

GalinaUlanova retired from dancing in 1960, eventually becoming a teacher to more great dancers who followed her — including Yekaterina Maksimova, Nina Timofeyeva and the current Bolshoi director, Vladimir Vasilyev — who followed her.

She passed away in 1998 at the age of 88, but she will be remembered for her uncanny blend of unabashed emotionalism and lyrical restraint, which made her one of the greatest dancers of the 20th century.

The book takes us back into the history of the Bolshoi and shares many photographs, all in black and white, of Ulanova at work and living her life.

I found Days Ulanova extremely interesting reading and learnt lots about how the Russian dancers train that make them into world class dancers.

This is a must add book to any dance lovers collection.

This post does contain affiliate links.

10 thoughts on “Days Ulanova – Famous Ballerina Brought To Life”

  1. I will be honest, this isn’t a subject matter that really interests me. But its clear you know your subject, and this is a really good review.
    One thing i would add is more links to places where i can buy this. For an article this long id expect half a dozen links within the text.

  2. Mergie,

    So is this book a biography about Galina Ulanova? I am so inspired by dancers, maybe because I have no rhythm whatsoever. When I see or read about great dancers, it gives me strength to work on my singing skills. I’m not really good, but I can hold a tune and maybe one day I can go somewhere with that. I definitely want to read the book.

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Hi there
    To think that she did not want to dance and forced into it by her parents and to finally have such an impact to the world, is an amazing achievement.

    I love these kind of stories. I follow dancing a lot, more particularly artist or people who have made an impact. I know its different but one of them is Michael Jackson.

    I will not mind at all reading this book. I find it inspiring and interesting and love it when people follow their passion and defeat all odds.

    Thanks will let you my thoughts once I have completed the book.

  4. Famous Ballerina Brought to Life, Its extremely an attractive title. I would like to read about her biography or maybe watch her movie. It’s a fact that some parents want their kids to fulfill their own dreams or to continue their legacy. It’s amazing how much parents impact our lives. 
    Galina Ulanova was a talented Ballerina therefore, she became famous, and it just took a push from her parents.

    Even though I wasn’t talented, I used to watch Ballet Dancing movies when I was a kid. It was fascinating, the dancing rhythm, the famous classic music, and dancing outfits. It was like a dream for me.

    Thank you for bringing these kinds of books to life

  5. Ulanova is an example of a woman who was rigthly mentored by her parents. The probability to succeed is high when you have the right mentors. I woul have loved to see her dance. I believe this will be a book for me and my children to read and learn from. A role model to both parents and children in her work and life in her 88 years on earth.

  6. Interesting and thorough review, great job! Not that ballet is my forte but my wife is an ex-ballet dancer and my youngest is in a dance program in junior high. I believe that would make a great gift for either one of them. Now all I have to do is make sure they don’t fight over it 🙂

    Great job! 


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