MOSCOW — Maya Plisetskaya, regarded as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century and whose career at the Bolshoi Theater spanned more than 35 years, has died at age 89.
Bolshoi director Vladimir Urin told the state news agency Tass that Plisetskaya died in Germany of a heart attack on Saturday.
President Vladimir Putin issued a message of condolence and tributes came from across the dance world. Mikhail Baryshnikov said on Facebook that she was “one of the greatest dancers of our time … beautiful and graceful.”
Plisetskaya was renowned for intense performances that contrasted with the ethereal style of many other dancers, especially in Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”
Baryshnikov pointed to another role. “Always remember her amazing Dying Swan from 1959 and 1986,” he wrote, noting that in the latter she was already 61 years old.
Plisetskaya joined the Bolshoi troupe in 1943 at the age of 18 and stayed until 1990 when she left amid disputes with its director.
However, she returned to its stage for gala appearances, including a 75th birthday performance in 2000.
She is survived by her husband, composer Rodion Shchedrin. Funeral plans were not immediately determined.