Dates: April 5 – May 7, 2023

Venue: Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Russian Academy of Arts, Tsereteli Art Gallery, 19 Prechistenka street, Moscow


The Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Russian Academy of Arts hosts a major exhibition dedicated to the life and creative work by the legend of the Russian ballet, unsurpassed master in the field of training professional ballet dancers, People’s Artist of the USSR Sophia N. Golovkina (1915-2004). The project timed to the Year of Teacher and Tutor in Russia presents theater costumes, personal belongings, posters for performances, oil and graphic portraits of Sophia Golovkina, unique photographs fr om the family archives provided by the granddaughter and curator of the exhibition Sophia Gaidukova.


Sophia N. Golovkina has graduated from the Moscow Choreographic School wh ere her teachers were such distinguished masters as Alexander Chekrygin, Fyodor Lopukhov, Agrippina Vaganova, Elizaveta Gerdt, Maria Kozhukhova. In 1933 she entered the ballet troupe of the Bolshoi Theater, was actively involved into the formation of its modern repertoire, dancing the leading and solo roles in ballets staged by noted choreographers Vasily Vainonen, Rostislav Zakharov and others. In the years of the Great Patriotic War Sophia Golovkina stayed in Moscow and performed in ballets and concerts both in theaters and hospitals. Golovkina’s dancing technique was distinguished by refinement and virtuosity. Her contemporaries called her “the queen of fouette”.


After 26 years of tireless work Sophia Golovkina retired and returned to the Moscow Choreographic School as a teacher. One of the exhibition sections highlights her contribution to the development of the Moscow ballet school. Her deep understanding of new requirements for the theater, the breadth of views and interests, inexhaustible creative temperament of an experimenter helped Sophia Golovkina to reveal herself as talented teacher and manager. Among her pupils are Natalia Bessmertnova, Irek Mukhamedov, Nikolai Tsiskaridze, Maria Alexandrova, Ilze Liepa and several other generations of ballet dancers and soloists of the Bolshoi Theater.   


In 1960-2001 as the Rector of the Moscow State Academy of Choreography Sophia Golovkina made a great contribution to the promotion of Russian ballet art. Due to her efforts in 1961 there were opened advanced courses for training of international ballet dancers, the repertoire was upd ated, much attention was paid to the teaching of male dance and stage practice. In 1967 there was a very important event: the academic year started in the new building located at Frunzenskaya street 2 and 20 years later on its basis there was se t up the Moscow State Institute of Choreography aimed at training teachers, choreographers, and for the first time - concertmasters. In 1994 these two entities were united into the Moscow State Academy of Choreography named “Golovkina school”.


During the exhibition period there will be excursions with its curator Sophia Gaidukova. One of them will take place on April 26, 2023 - on the day of free entrance to the Museum and Exhibition Complex of the Russian Academy of Arts.


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