Ludmila Semenyaka: Ballerina, Teacher and Choreographer

Ludmila Semenyaka: Ballerina, Teacher and Choreographer

Bright dancing talent, creative longevity and teaching vocation - these are the main components of success of Ludmila Ivanovna Semenyaka.  

Talent from childhood

People's Artist of the USSR Ludmila Semenyaka, who celebrated her seventieth birthday in January 2022, was born in Leningrad. Ludmila's bright artistic and dancing talent manifested itself already in early childhood. 

At the age of ten, she entered the Leningrad Choreographic School (now the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet), and at twelve, she first performed on stage of the Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theater named after Kirov (now the Mariinsky Theater). Her first solo part was Marie in The Nutcracker. In 1969, Ludmila received her first professional award: it was the III prize of the First International Ballet Competition (Moscow).

Bright start

After graduating from school, Ludmila Semenyaka became an artist of the ballet company of the Leningrad Opera and Ballet Theater; and two years later, in 1972, she was invited to the Bolshoi Theater. The debut role danced by Ludmila here was Odette-Odile in Swan Lake. 

Ludmila Semenyaka is the only ballerina who performed in all the productions of great Grigorovich at the Bolshoi. Connoisseurs and admirers of ballet both in Russia and abroad were always profuse of praise, calling Semenyaka beautiful, unforgettable, talented and delightful. 

The heyday  

For several decades, she was shining on stage of the Bolshoi: Odette-Odile (Swan Lake), Princess Aurora (The Sleeping Beauty), Marie (The Nutcracker), title roles in Raymond and Giselle, Kitri (Don Quixote), Shirin (A Legend of Love by Melikov), Phrygia (Spartacus by Khachaturian), Valentina (Angara by Eshpai) and many other parts. 

The great ballerina performed in productions by the American Ballet Theater (ABT), the Paris National Opera Ballet, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Argentine Teatro Colon, the English National Ballet, the Scottish National Ballet, the St. Petersburg Mussorgsky State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater - the Mikhailovsky Theater.

In 1976, Ludmila Semenyaka was awarded the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR, and ten years later, in 1986, she became the People's Artist of the USSR.

Transfer of experience

Legendary Galina Ulanova became Ludmila's repetiteur at the Bolshoi. She was rehearsing with her for a long time; later, Marina Semenova, Nina Timofeeva and Marina Kondratieva were tutoring her. 

When her dancing career was over, Ludmila Ivanovna became a mentor and guide to the world of big ballet for young artists. Svetlana Zakharova, Anna Nikulina, Elena Andrienko, Anastasia Goryacheva, Yulia Stepanova, Daria Khokhlova, Anastasia Meskova and Yulia Stepanova rehearsed under her guidance. Currently, her students are Victoria Yakusheva, Stanislav Postnova, Kristina Petrova and other artists. 

Versatility of talent

In 1999, Ludmila Semenyaka made her debut as a choreographer. Within a few years, she staged The Fountain of Bakhchisarai, Giselle, Swan Lake (using choreographic fragments by Ivanov, Petipa and Gorsky).

Ludmila Ivanovna has been sitting on the jury of the major international competitions for many years; she gives master classes and leads an active creative life. 

On the occasion of her anniversary, the great ballerina received congratulatory telegrams from the top officials of this country. 

Boris Lvov-Anokhin, a stage director, critic and author of books about ballet, said:


“Semenyaka is a wonderful classical ballerina. But this is not the only thing. Her special, unique charm lies in her talent and ability to create on stage the image of a live person with all the spectrum of spiritual movements, impulses, passions. This quality is quite rare and precious.”