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Lyubov Gershunova born to dance

August 05, 2017

Lyubov Gershuvona, the brightest star of the Novosibirsk ballet, National Artist of RSFSR, awardee of State RSFSR prize would have turned 70 years on 5th August. Some unforgettable chapters of history of the Novosibirsk theatre and Russian ballet art in general are connected to the name of an outstanding ballerina, and regarding her connection with another brilliant dancer Anatoly Berdyshev, her partner on the stage and in private life, Lyubov Gershunova has become one of the main symbols of the Siberian ballet.

Using an inconceivable sixth feeling she was able to figure out the best way to show her amazing skills, to find a suitable angle turning an unhandy movement into a summit of grace  wrote a theatre historian Valery Romm about the ballerina  Her very first performances defined her unique ability to fill the long, fluent and sometimes simple motions with sense, enduing them with poetry and sacred significance. It felt like she was speaking to the audience with her heart.

Lyubov Gershunova and Anatoly Berdyshev belong to the first generation of the Novosibirsk choreographic school graduates and the first disciples of the Siberian ballet institution to become the International Ballet competition winners and the National Artists of RSFSR. Lyubov Gershunovas unique gift revealed itself from her very first lead role as Syuimbike of F.Yarullins Syuimbike, the bird of happiness at the Novosibirsk theatre in 1968.

The combination of these qualities made her famous as one of the best ballerinas of her time. At the Novosibirsk stage she managed to create unforgettable images, capturing the audience and professionals with exquisite honesty and subtlety of her dance: Odette-Odile (Swan Lake), Giselle (Giselle), Marie (Nutcracker), Phrygia (Spartacus), Nikia (La Bayadère); Lady Macbeth (Macbeth), Conchita (Juno and Avos), Sylphide (La Sylphide), Fraschesca (Francesca da Rimini) and other. Her dancing talent especially revealed itself in lyric-tragic characters  Giselle, Juliet, Nikia.

At the same time Gershunova was called the greatest tragic ballet artist and many ballets were created for Gershunova exclusively. At first sight she seems to be a fragile teenager that you fear to break by setting a disabling burden of her weak shoulders  recalled later the outstanding choreographers Nataly Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasilyov, who staged their own version of Romeo and Juliet specially built for Gershunovas personality  but the work begins and you notice how much strength is hidden behind this evanescence, childish delicacy. You also find out the amazing amount of self-discipline inside her very talent. Gershunova was born to dance.

Lyubov Gershunove used to take part in performances at the Big Theatre of USSR  Giselle, Spartacus, toured across more than 30 countries of the world: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Japan, France, Argentine and other. The foreign media wrote about Gershunova: Her technical skills left us stunned with a feeling that it was the best dying swan ever seen, though we have seen an all-time artist Margot Fonteyn. She felt less real and consequently, more charming.

People like Lyubov appear once in 30-50 years. There probably were ballerinas technically more skilled, but no one could create an image of a character better than she did  told Alexander Savin, director of a popular in the 1990s chamber theatre Ballet  Novosibirsk  100, where the lead soloists of the Siberian ballet including Lyubov Gershunova and Anatoly Berdyshev used to dance  I remember how I fell in love with ballet after seeing Gershunova playing Giselle. The scene of madness made my hair curl. This is probably why she had never become a good tutor  this is something one cannot learn, you need to be blessed by God!
 Macbeth (1982). Lady Macbeth  Lyubov Gershunova, Macbeth  Vladimir Ryabov
Lyubov Gershunova
Lyubov Gershunova
Romeo and Juliet (1972). Juliet  Lyubov Gershunova
Romeo and Juliet (1972). Juliet  Lyubov Gershunova
 Romeo and Juliet. Lyubov Gershunova and Anatoly Berdyshev
Romeo and Juliet (1972)
Lyubov Gershunova
Swan Lake (1971). Odette  Lyubov Gershunova
Swan Lake  (1972). Lyubov Gershunova  Anatoly Berdyshev
Swan Lake (1973). Lyubov Gershunova
 Swan Lake (1973). Lyubov Gershunova
with Yury Grigorovich
 Spartacus (1977). Phrygia  Lyubov Gershunova, Spartacus  Alexander Balabanov
Spartacus (1977). Phrygia  Lyubov Gershunova
Lyubov Gershunova
La Sylphide (1979). Lyubov Gershunova  Anatoly Berdyshev
Lyubov Gershunova