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Sofia Golovkina

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Name  Sofia Golovkina

Parents  Nikolay Golovkin
Sofia Golovkina mediatheatreruphoto34210rjpg
Died  February 17, 2004, Moscow, Russia
Books  Lessons in Classical Dance

Sofia golovkina bolshoi principal ballerina 1933 1959

Sofia Nikolaevna Golovkina (alternate, Sophia; Russian, Головкина, Софья Николаевна; 13 October 1915 - 17 February 2004) was a Russian ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher. A graduate of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography in 1933, she was the principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet till 1959. In 1960, she became director of the Moscow Bolshoi Ballet School. For her work, Golovkina was awarded the Russian Order of Merit, People's Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and the Order of the Red Banner of Labour. She died in 2004 in Moscow.


Sofia Golovkina Sofia Golovkina 1915 2004 Find A Grave Memorial


Born in Moscow, Golovkina trained with Alexander Chekrygin at the Bolshoi Ballet School, joining the ballet when she was 17. There she danced the leads in the major classical works including Swan Lake, Raymonda, The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote. She also created roles as the Tsar-Maiden in Alexander Gorsky's The Little Humpbacked Horse and Zarema in Rostislav Zakharov's The Fountain of Bakhchisaray. In 1943, she danced Nikiya in Gorsky's La Bayadère and in 1947 she performed in Vasili Vainonen's Flames of Paris as Mireille de Poitiers in a work intended to show that the Russian Revolution had a more international context. Her dancing was characterized by a flamboyant virtuosity which was well suited to her patriotic roles during the Soviet era.

After retiring from the stage in 1959, she became director of the ballet school from 1960 where she obtained considerable success with her students, especially Natalia Bessmertnova. Despite unpopularity resulting from her stern approach, she ran the school for 41 years, eventually becoming its rector. Following in the steps of Gorsky and adopting the method developed by Agrippina Vaganova, she contributed to important developments in the Bolshoi's style and repertoire while staging productions for her students including Coppélia (1977) and La Fille mal gardée (1979).

Despite considerable financial difficulties after the end of the Soviet era, Golovinka managed to attract new students and set up a Bolshoi school in Tokyo, Japan as well as a summer school in Vail, Colorado, US. Golovkina also participated as a judge for the prestigious Prix Benois de la Danse.


Among her many awards, Golovkina received the People's Artist of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (1962), the Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1971) and the Russian Order of Merit (1995).


  • Golovkina, Sofʹi︠a︡ Nikolaevna; Golovkina, Sophia N. (1987). The Bolshoi Ballet School: student life in the world's most prestigious dance school. T.F.H. ISBN 978-0-86622-497-0. 
  • Morley, Iris (1945). Soviet Ballet. Collins. 
  • References

    Sofia Golovkina Wikipedia

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