Pavlo Virsky

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Pavlo Pavlovych Virsky () (1905–1975) was an innovative dancer, balletmaster, choreographer, and founder of the P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble, whose work in Ukrainian dance was groundbreaking and influenced generations of dancers.

Early days

Pavlo Virsky was born on February 25, 1905 in Odessa, at the time part of the Russian Empire (in present-day Ukraine). After graduating from the Odessa Music and Drama School in 1927, he continued his studies in Moscow, at the Theater Technicum, from 1927-28.Beginning in 1925, state theaters began to be organized throughout the Ukrainian SSR, allowing for gainful employment for artists, and upon his return to Odessa in 1928, Virsky joined the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre as a dancer and choreographer. It was at this theater that he collaborated with Mykola Bolotov in their first joint production: Gliere's The Red Poppy. Virsky left the Odessa in 1931, and worked as a balletmaster at various theatres, including those in Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kiev, working on productions of ballets such as Raymonda, La Esmeralda, Le Corsaire, Swan Lake, and Don Quixote.

Folk dance

The Kiev Opera and Ballet brought two productions to Moscow in 1936 as part of the first festival of Ukrainian Literature and Art: Mykola Lysenko's opera Natalka Poltavka, and Semen Hulak-Artemovsky's opera Zaporozhets za Dunayem (A Zaporizhian Beyond the Danube), the latter which included choreographed Ukrainian folk dances by Pavlo Virsky...
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