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Maya Plisetskaya was born in Moscow in 1925. She studied at the Bolshoi Theatre Ballet School. Became a principal dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet as soon as she joined it in 1943 and prima ballerina in 1962. After being excluded for political reasons many years from tours to the West, she was finally in 1959 allowed to join the American tour with the Bolshoi. She had great success in America. Since then she danced widely outside Russia and was guest artist at the Paris Opera Ballet in 1961 and 1964. She is Prima Ballerina Assoluta.
Plisetskaya's first work as a choreographer was a ballet based on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina using music composed by her husband, the conductor Rodion Schedrin