Alla Osipenko is the gripping story of one of history’s greatest ballerinas, a courageous rebel who paid the price for speaking truth to the Soviet state.
The daughter of a distinguished Russian aristocratic and artistic family, Osipenko was born in 1932, but raised almost in a cocoon of pre-Revolutionary decorum and protocol. In Leningrad she studied directly under Agrippina Vaganova, the most revered and influential of all Russian ballet instructors. In 1950, she joined the Mariinsky (then-Kirov) Ballet, where her lines, shapes, movement both exemplified the venerable traditions of Russian ballet and projected those traditions into uncharted and experimental realms. She was the first of her generation of Kirov stars to enchant the West when she danced in Paris in 1956.