Igor Moiseyev 21.01.1906-02.11.2007
Academician of The Russian Academy of Arts.
Choreographer, ballet-master, ballet dancer, founder and Art Director of the Igor Moiseyev State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble, People’s Artist of the USSR, People’s Artist of the RSFSR, People’s Artist of the Moldavian SSR, People’s Artist of the Kirghiz SSR, People’s Artist of the Buryat SSR, Hero of Socialist Labor. Lenin Prize Laureate, USSR State Prize Laureate, State Prize of the Russian Federation Laureate. Companion of three Orders of Lenin, Order of the October Revolution, two Orders of the Red Banner of Labor, Order of Friendship of Peoples, Order of the Badge of Honor, Order of Merit for the Fatherland (1st, 2nd and 3rd class).
Companion of the Bulgarian Order of Saint Alexander with the Crown, Romanian Order of the Officer of Culture, Polish Order of Polonia Restituta, Yugoslavian Order of Brotherhood and Unity, Mongolian Order of the Polar Star, Hungarian Order of the Officer of Culture (1st and 2nd class), Lebanese Order of the Golden Cedar, Mongolian Order of S khbaatar, Czechoslovakia!! Order of the White Lion, Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Choreographer, ballet-master and recognized folk dance guru Igor Moiseyev is the founder and art director of the Igor Moiseyev State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble. Once he formulated three commandments, which would guide him through life. First, «there is no one that cannot be replaced.» Second, «we don’t have chorus, we’re all soloists.» Third, «whatever happens, the ensemble works.» The last statement is completely fair for Igor Moiseyev himself.
Igor Moiseyev’s father supposed that his son should know such dancing skills as grace, elegance and posture. The studio art director Vera Masolova immediately grasped Igor’s potential and found him a place in a class of Alexander Gorsky, the ballet-master of the Bolshoi Theatre. «Thus I found myself in the Bolshoi Theatre School. Later I became a part of its troupe, performed as a soloist, was appointed the ballet-master and understood that it was my element,» — Igor recalled. There he met ballet-master Kasyan Goleyzovsky and was impressed with his fresh experiments. Moiseyev performed the role of Joseph in the second line-up of Goleyzovsky’s ballet Legend of Joseph. But this loyalty cost the young dancer his career in the Bolshoi and made him think about his own place in Soviet choreography.
Between performances in various Moscow theaters Igor Moiseyev studied folk dances. He visited Caucasus, Belarus and Ukraine collecting folklore. In 1936 Igor became a choreographer in the Folk Theatre. A year later the first project called Folk Dances of the USSR was produced. It was the beginning of future glory of the State Academic Folk Dance Ensemble. The collective visited more than sixty countries. Igor Moiseyev joked that his life is more similar to a guide-book than an ordinary biography. «I still remember our concert in Sarajevo, — he said in one of his interviews. — The whole city population was in the square beside the theater. As soon as we came out the crowd parted and started throwing roses at our feet. It was February, it sleeted. At first we tried to pick up the flowers but it was impossible to take them all. So we walked the road of roses and finally entered the theater. How can you forget this?»
Behind the scenes there was a lot of invisible and hard work of an imperious but endlessly respectable producer. During rehearsals Igor watched, made some remarks, then clapped and left only best parts. Dancers tried hard to capture his attention. The ensemble meant everything for him. He liked or disliked artists due to their loyalty to the ensemble. If some talented performer was in trouble, then he could ask any authorities for help. He never expected thanks in return but could blame someone and didn’t forget a thing.
Researchers notice that Igor created a brand new visual genre — the folk dance theater. His performances don’t get older and always look fresh. He never missed anything. In 1983 he produced a spectacle Night on Bald Mountain and added some motions that he had seen at the Poltava funfair when he was a six-year old boy. All these years he stored them in his memory. «I learn from Pushkin. He rewrote tales of Arina Rodionovna, — Igor Moiseyev revealed some of his secrets. — I have been studying folklore for so many years not because of its variety. The dance will definitely find new forms corresponding with new human consciousness, ethics and experience. The folk dance has to be studied carefully. We’re not collectors that pin dances like butterflies. We use folklore as the base and try to expand the borders of dance by adding new ideas and techniques. The folk dance is simply a material for our creations and we don’t hide our authorship in folk dances. But our creativity can be noticed in the nature of folk dance itself.»
For Igor Moiseyev folk dances were the most festive and hedonistic genre of art — «a figurative portrait of people». It’s the poetry of silence, a visual song containing a piece of the people’s soul. This bottomless treasury has many priceless pearls. They reflect creative force of people’s fantasy, imagery thoughts, expression and deepness of feelings. It is the emotional and poetical chronicle of the nation depicting its history and life. And, as Igor has always said, this is the main difference between folk dance and ballet created by the rational mind.