At the heart of the group's success is the genius of its visionary artistic director, choreographer and founder, the late Igor Moiseyev. In 1936, Moiseyev was appointed Ballet Master at the Bolshoi Theatre. Shortly after, he was asked by the Soviet government to organize a festival of national dance, and he thus began the work that would ultimately be recognized as one of the greatest artistic contributions to the dance world. The festival's success inspired him to form Moiseyev Dance Company and their inaugural performance was met with immediate public acclaim.
Within a few years, Moiseyev formed a company of 100 dancers that toured the Soviet Union, adding dances from Georgia, the Caucausus, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, the Gobi desert, and Siberia. The company has toured over sixty countries and is internationally recognized as the premier folk dance company in the world. Just as famous today are the signature dances Moiseyev choreographed for his ensemble, which include the Ukrainian "Gopak," the soccer-inspired "Football Players," and "Summer." The company's growing repertoire also includes dances of Spain, Japan, China, Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Hungary, American jazz and rock and roll.
Moiseyev won numerous awards for his artistic contributions to world culture. He was the recipient of UNESCO's Mozart Medal for "outstanding contribution to world music culture," the Government of Moscow Award for "Legend of the Century," and the award for "outstanding contribution to the development of cultural relations between the US and Russia." On his 100th birthday, a gala performance took place at the Kremlin Palace Theater in Moscow honoring his contribution to the world of dance. Moiseyev was presented with Russia's top civilian honor for service to the nation from President Vladimir Putin. Igor Moiseyev died in Moscow in November 2007 at the age of 101.
The Moiseyev Dance Company will appear at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, on Wednesday, February 6, 2008, at 8:00pm. -- www.mccallumtheatre.com