Over two thousand lovers of classical dance joined famous dancers from around the world last Sunday for a Gala performance dedicated to the 90th birth anniversary of legendary ballerina Maya Plisetskaya. The Gala, which was held in Cannes at the Palais des Festivals, included performances from members of the world’s greatest ballet companies. Legendary Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin, who was Maya’s husband until her death last year, was a guest of honour at the event.
The performance, which was organized by Askaneli Art, BALLET2000 and Visual Classics, was followed by an awards ceremony for the Prix BALLET2000, which celebrates the best dance achievements. This year, the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to the Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen. The first edition of this prize, which was established in 2004, was given to Maya Plisetskaya herself. Maya’s acceptance of the award was particularly memorable as, despite being 79 at the time, she refused to simply accept the award. Instead she chose to dance on the stage of the Palais des Festivals, for what would be the last time.
Although annual concerts have been held since the award was established, the organisers of the event deemed it fitting that this year’s concert should be used as a tribute to Maya’s talent. An award, the “Prix Maya”, has therefore been created in her honour. This year, the recipients were Diana Vishneve, principal dancer with the Mariinsky Theater, Aurélie Dupont, Director of the Paris Opéra Ballet, and Friedmann Vogel, principal dancer with the Stuttgart Ballet. Artistic director of the event Irma Nioradze says that she is convinced that this new prize will have a “great history.”
The evening ended with a charity auction, where all the funds raised were donated to the foundation supporting the victims of the Bastille Day terrorist attack in Nice.