Soloviev's Suicide

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Soloviev's Suicide


In 1977 the great dancer Yuri Soloviev killed himself. The fact that he killed himself in his beloved dacha makes his death more haunting, for “it is tragic to think that in a dark hour he was drawn back to his roots” (Lobenthal 55). Though the reasons for Soloviev’s suicide remain obscured, interviews with Tatiana Legat, Soloviev’s widow, reveal that “Yura [Tatiana’s pet name for her husband] was always being pressed to join the Party” and that Soloviev was once explicitly told, “You’re an embodiment of what a Russian Communist is. You need to join the Party” (Legat qtd. Lobenthal 62). Additionally, in the months leading up to his suicide it appears that Soloviev was in an increasing amount of physical pain and did not feel he was dancing to his best ability. Legat says, “But his back hurt, his legs hurt. And I said, ‘Well, don’t [do the variation], just stand and strike some poses.’ He said, ‘I can’t. You know who I am and you know what my position is, that I’m a People’s Artist, etc. I have to do it. How can people come to the theater and say, ‘But he didn’t dance.’’ I said to him, ‘It doesn’t matter if you don’t do it. Any pose that you do, you will do it right and beautifully and everybody will love it.’ In Romeo and Juliet there’s a lot of running, and he was in such pain. He couldn’t run. He still ran, because he felt he had to. He was just happy that he hadn’t disappointed anybody – Kolpakova, his Juliet, or the public: ‘Thank God I got through everything’” (Legat qtd. Lobenthal 67). Soloviev’s death clearly embodies a sense of tragedy and sheer determination that is fundamental to the idea of Russianness presented in this exhibit.

Word Count: 300


“Blue Bird in The Sleeping Beauty.” Photograph. For Ballet Lovers Only. N.p., 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.

“Le Corsaire.” Photograph. For Ballet Lovers Only. N.p., 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2014.

Lobenthal, Joel and Lisa Whitaker. “Tatiana Legat on Yuri Soloviev.” Ballet Review 38.3 (2010): 55-67. Web. 22 Apr. 2014


January 12, 1977


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