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Ballerina Marina Semyonova dies at 102

MOSCOW - Marina Semyonova, the Bolshoi Ballet's prima ballerina for two decades during the Soviet era, has died. She was 102.

The Bolshoi Theater said that Semyonova died at her apartment in Moscow on Wednesday just a few days after marking her birthday.

Spokeswoman Katerina Novikova did not say the cause of death.

Semyonova was born in St. Petersburg in 1908. She graduated from Agrippina Vaganova's ballet school in 1925 and joined the Bolshoi in 1930.

She performed with the Bolshoi until 1952. Her repertoire included Princess Florine in "Sleeping Beauty," Odette-Odile in "Swan Lake," as well as the title characters in "Raymonda," "Giselle" and "La Esmeralda."

In 1935, she danced as a guest at the Paris Opera, where she performed "Giselle" with French star Serge Lifar.

Two years later, her husband, Lev Karakhan, a senior Soviet diplomat, was executed as part of Josef Stalin's purges.

After ending her dancing career, Semyonova worked as a ballet coach, teaching Natalia Bessmertnova, Nina Sorokina, Nadezhda Pavlova and Maya Plissetskaya among others.

The Bolshoi had no immediate information about funeral arrangements. - AP

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