Europe

Russia ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya dies aged 89

Maya Plisetskaya. Photo: February 2012 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Maya Plisetskaya is often described as one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th Century

Russian ballet legend Maya Plisetskaya has died in Germany aged 89, the director of the Bolshoi Theatre says.

Vladimir Urin says she died of a heart attack. "The doctors tried everything, but there was nothing they could do," he is quoted as saying by Tass agency.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his "deep condolences" to Plisetskaya's family and relatives.

Plisetskaya joined the Bolshoi in 1943, captivating audiences around the world with the purity of her performances.

In 1960, she became the Bolshoi's prima ballerina.

Among her acclaimed roles were Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and Carmen in Carmen Suite.

Plisetskaya left the stage aged 65, becoming a choreographer and giving master classes around the world.

She moved to the German city of Munich with her composer husband Rodion Shchedrin in 1991.

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