“ Andris Liepa opened a window to Europe”
The world ballet star, Andris Liepa, was born in 1962 in a famous artistic family. His father, Maris Liepa, was one of the Bolshoi legendary dancers who has had an enormous effect on the history of the male dance.
Having graduated from the Moscow Academy of Choreography under a well-known teacher A.Prokofiev in 1980, Andris happens to be a laureate of multiple ballet competitions: 1981 Golden medal at the Moscow international competition (youth group). 1985 Silver medal at the Moscow International competition. 1985 Grand Prix at the International Competition in Mississippi (USA).
Upon graduation, Andris was invited to join the Bolshoi ballet. Over the eight years with the company he performed the leading parts in The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, Ivan the Terrible, Golden Age, Raymonda, Swan Lake and more. His first tour with the Bolshoi was that of Warsaw, Poznan and Lodz.
In 1988 Andris became the first Russian dancer who was officially allowed to work in a foreign company. Along with his partner, Nina Ananiashvili, Andris was invited to join the New York City Ballet as guest star. They performed Raymonda variations, Symphony C and Apollo.
A few months later, Andris performed Prince Zigfrid in Baryshnikov’s production of the Swan Lake completed for ABT, MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet and Balanchin’s Violin Concert.
In 1989, Oleg Vinogradov of the Kirov (Mariinsky) ballet has invited Andris to take part in Nijinksi’s Gala held on occasion of his 100th birthday. He made his St.Petersburg debut with Le Spectre de la Rose and later on joined the Kirov (Mariinsky) company as a permanent guest soloist to dance Petrushka in Vinogradov’s production. While at the Kirov Theater, Andris performed the leading parts in La Bayadere, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty and more.
At that period of time he danced in La Scala, Grand Opera Rome and Swedish Opera. Liepa worked with Moris Bejart and many other prominent choreographers.
Along with the Kremlin ballet, Andris performed the leading parts in Vasiliev’s Macbeth and Cinderella and prepared a TV version of Le Spectre de la Rose in association with British Thames TV.
Liepa has always been claimed by TV and cinema producers. Among the films Andris has played the major roles in, one can mention a documentary on his first steps in Mariinsky Theater produced by The World of Arts video records and Mosfilm’s production of The Short Breath of Love.
In 1993 Andris has restored the three legendary Fokin’s masterpieces Petrushka, Scheherazade and The Firebird. These ballets initially created for the Russian Seasons in Paris were first shown in Russia. Sometime later he also performed the leading parts in the original TV version of all the three pieces within the framework of a project called Return of the Firebird. The production of that film has brought Andris respect and recognition of the French Cinema Academy. In 2001 the rights for DVD and VXS production of the film were purchased by Universal.
In 1994 Andris staged The Tale of Invisible Kitezh City, by Rimsky-Korsakov at the Mariinsky Theater. Conducted by V.Gergiev, the first show was given in Paris. In 1995 the play was also shown at the Edinburgh Festival.
In 1997 Andris established the Maris Liepa Charitable Foundation. Its presentation has taken place at the Bolshoi Theater of Russia with a number of cosequent concerts in commemoration of Maris Liepa held all over the county. Here Andris fully materialize his artistic potential, extraordinary creative thinking ability and deep knowledge of the theatre and ballet process. Over the years Andris has been restoring the ballet of the Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes repertoire, among them are:
The Blue God, Scheherazade, The Firebird, Tamar, Bolero, L’Apre-Midi D’un Faune, Polovtsian Dances, Le Spectre de la Rose, Le Pavillion d’Armide, Petrushka, Chopiniana, Le Coq D’Or, Cleopatra-Ida Rubinstein. Now the foundation has acquired well-deserved recognition in Russia and abroad.