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Everything in her life was paradoxical: she began to study ballet very late, already at the age of 13, and was enrolled in the Vaganov School. Natalia Makarova was the leading ballerina of the Kirov Theater and the performer of the main roles in the most popular performances, and already in 1969 she became the Honored Artist of the RSFSR. What could have made a successful ballerina stay in the UK after just a year, and how was her future life?
The birth of a ballerina
She was born in 1940 and until the age of five she grew up with her grandmother, in fact, in the forest. Now it is difficult to imagine, but the future ballerina enjoyed farming: she knitted sheaves, looked after cattle, mowed hay and picked mushrooms and berries. And after moving to Leningrad, every summer she came to the same village, where she again plunged into the atmosphere of carefree happiness and freedom.
Natasha always studied well and, if desired, after graduating from school, she could enter any institute. Mom hoped that her daughter would become a doctor or engineer, but the girl was destined for a completely different fate. Natasha, like many Soviet children, rushed to the Palace of Pioneers after school, choosing a choreographic studio for herself.
She was already 13 years old when Natasha accidentally saw an advertisement for the recruitment of an experimental class at the Vaganovo school, and immediately climbed the stairs and entered the office. And after they looked at it, she said the wrong phone number out of excitement. But she was still found three months later.
Natasha's mother was categorically against her daughter becoming a ballerina, but the director of the school found the right words and even said: "Something will come out of her that you will be proud of." Already during her studies, Natalia Makarova showed her talent, and immediately after graduation she was enrolled in the troupe of the Kirov Theater, where she became the leading soloist.
She played Giselle and Juliet, Queen of the Ball in The Bronze Horseman and Nina in Masquerade, Princess Florine and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, and Odette and Odile in Swan Lake. But she always lacked roles. She wanted to dance better and more, to be able to take lessons from the best choreographers in the world. She had a very wide creative range, but the roles and productions significantly narrowed the scope of her possibilities. The constant theatrical intrigues that invariably appear in any troupe did not add optimism and faith in the future.
But she never thought about emigration, she just knew that she was capable of more. And during the theater tour in London, she made the difficult, but almost instantaneous decision to stay in the West.
She believed that she was doing everything right, although at first she was afraid of life in an unfamiliar country. After Natalia Makarova asked for political asylum in Great Britain, she had to hide from the KGB for some time, and after she was waiting for the Covent Garden theater, which she dreamed of.
Already in October, Natalia danced with Rudolf Nureyev two miniatures for the BBC TV channel. But it was precisely in the London theater that she did not manage to get: the ballerinas delivered an ultimatum to the leadership: either they, or Makarova. The ballerinas wrote a statement threatening to resign on the same day when the "Russian upstart" would be hired. The same story happened with the Paris Theater. She was disappointed, but soon an invitation came from the American Ballet Theater, and Makarova went overseas.
Many years later, she admits: it was difficult for her to get used to the frantic rhythm of work that the new conditions required. She had to learn a lot of games, study styles and directions, hitherto unknown to her. But it was for this that she came to be able to never stop at what has been achieved, to constantly move forward. The ballerina worked almost around the clock.
She won the best theatrical scenes, and the audience all over the world greeted the performances of the outstanding ballerina Natalia Makarova with applause.
The greatest happiness
Despite the success, the ballerina calls the birth of a child, her only son Andrei, in 1978 as the happiest event in her life. A year before emigration, she divorced her second husband, director Leonid Kvinikhidze, and met her fate in the United States, businessman Edward Karkar. He carefully kept the ballerina's autograph, received back in those years when they did not know each other. And after Natalia moved to the United States, he invariably attended all the performances with her participation, until he decided to get acquainted with the Russian beauty.
Their romance lasted 4 years, after the wedding took place in the church, where the crown was held over her by Mikhail Baryshnikov, with whom Natalia made friends back in Leningrad. The ballerina tirelessly repeats that her husband is her main support in life. He subtly feels her herself, inspires new and new exploits and supports all undertakings.
When Andrei was born, Natalia Makarova understood: this is real happiness. Jacqueline Kennedy herself became the godmother of the baby. They were not friendly, but they often crossed paths during gala concerts. On one of them, Natalia and Jacqueline Kennedy were sitting side by side, and she asked the ballerina with interest about her son, who had just been born. Natalia Makarova spoke about the upcoming christening of the baby and jokingly suggested that Kennedy become a godmother. She happily agreed.
After the birth of Andrei, the ballerina very quickly regained her form and set off again to conquer the heights of ballet art. Her son could also dance, he had all the data for this, but Andrei followed in his father's footsteps and went into the investment business.
In 1982, the outstanding ballerina made her debut on the Broadway stage in the musical On Pointes, and her role as Vera Baronova earned her several major awards.
Closing the circle
18 years after emigration, Natalia Makarova got the opportunity to perform in London with the troupe of her native Kirov Theater, and in 1989 she again entered the Leningrad stage. As the ballerina herself admits, she realized that the circle was closed. She was again in the theater, where she was taking her first steps in art, and her mother was sitting in the box, with whom they had not seen for almost 20 years. Mom cried with happiness, and Natalia Romanovna herself realized that it was time to stop. It seems that it was then that she made the decision to leave the stage.
After completing her career as a ballerina, she was engaged in productions in theaters in different countries, and also occasionally acted in films and appeared on the stage as a dramatic actress. Natalia Makarova today lives in her own house in San Francisco, where on the site she has a birch grove that resembles Russian landscapes, and a small wooden church.
From time to time, the Land of the Soviets was shocked by reports that this or that actor or athlete decided to stay abroad, refusing to return from the tour. Not everyone who fled the USSR in search of recognition, professional growth and high incomes had a successful life. For many, talent has allowed them to achieve success, while others have not been able to cope with loneliness and depression.