RMT: Winterlong - Winter Dancers

"This is the very dressing table, the very room where (Galina) Ulanova was changing. She was the icon, the living legend. Her name became the symbol of the ballet.

For me, Ulanova as Juliet was something very special. It's always great for an artist when a choreographer stages a ballet for you personally. I watched that ballet on stage a thousand times, and always had goosebumps. Unfortunately, no film can deliver this feeling. I did see the films, too. You watch the moves, but you don't quite get that tremble. It's just not the same.

The fact that I became her pupil was, I guess, luck. The moment came when she wanted to finish her career. Lavrovsky, who was the creative director then, told her, 'Galya, you can't just leave the theater. Try to teach. Pick whomever you want - prima ballerinas, young girls, whoever you prefer.'

She said that if she takes anyone, it would have to be someone young. And picked me. So it was luck. Had I joined the company earlier or later, it might not have happened.

She was not a mild person. She had a very strong character, very demanding, especially of herself. I also think her introvert nature was a shell to protect herself from the world.
Of course, the entire life, all the big works, everything was created with her. She watched all the performances, was very picky.

Once after the performance she came backstage, kissed me, congratulated me and said that it was 'very good.'

While I was being undressed, she started making comments -- everything was good but this was not quite good, and that, and this...

Finally, my hairdresser, who was undoing my hair all that time, just asked, 'Galina Sergeyevna, but why are you saying she danced well if everything was bad?'"

- Ekaterina Maximova discusses her ballet mentor, Galina Ulanova, excerpted from Ulanova Forever (2004, documentary)
Translator credit: YouTube subscriber quest3472 kindly provided this transcription and translation (Russian to English) in order to help English-only speakers understand and enjoy this interview.