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I, Maya Plisetskaya$
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Maya Plisetskaya

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088571

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088571.001.0001

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Why I Did Not Stay in the West

Why I Did Not Stay in the West

(p.239) Chapter Thirty-Six Why I Did Not Stay in the West
I, Maya Plisetskaya

Maya Plisetskaya

Yale University Press

In this chapter, Maya Plisetskaya explains why she would not seek political asylum in the West even if she had the chance and chose to remain in Russia. She witnessed how Americans enjoyed freedom and lived in abundance, while Russians like Maya did not. Yet she stayed in Russia for fear that the Soviet authorities would have her killed. In 1961, Rudolf Nureyev reportedly asked for political asylum in a Paris airport when he was separated from the Kirov Ballet troupe leaving for London. There was an attempt to force him to fly back to the Soviet Union, which practically ended his ballet life. Maya had her chances to do the same, first during her second American tour in 1962 and second during a trip to England in 1963. But Maya believed that her life was only beginning, having become the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet following Galina Sergeyevna Ulanova's retirement. Two other reasons she did not stay in the West was her husband Rodion Shchedrin, without whom she could not imagine life, and her conscience.

Keywords:   ballet, political asylum, West, Russia, Rudolf Nureyev, Bolshoi Ballet, Rodion Shchedrin

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