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Richard Holden Email: greyhound@richka.net

Richard Holden in Moscow's Pravda Newspaper

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Published in the ‘Dostoinstvo’ section of “Pravda”, 13th – 19th March, 1995.  Reporter was Igor Mikhailusenko.

(Translated by Richard Holden)


The Firebird of Richard Holden

During the Autumn of 1992, I visited the city of Tucson in the State of Arizona, USA, known world wide for its ultra radio telescope located on its mountain observatory, permanently directed at the heavens in search of foreign civilizations. Americans are always looking for intelligent life – our brothers in outer space.

In that city I did not think I would find an interplanetary traveler from the heavens, but when I first met Richard Holden he seemed so to me. Coming towards me he simply floated in the air. It created an unearthly impression. The appearance of his eyes was also unearthly. It seemed as if he was a boy from the stars visiting Earth for the first time and surprised at every encounter.

But then I realized that Richard was not quite an interplanetary visitor – and I was not disappointed.

Richard actually is a very talented dancer, a master of ballet and a great lover of our Russian forms of art. He truly loves the folk dances and songs of Russia. He created a small group of amateur dancers, and while inspiring in them a love for beauty, he creates for them choreographic productions that attract large American audiences. Quite often they give their presentations in church buildings, popularizing the balalaika musical instrument, and a favorite of Americans, a dance called ”Troika”.

Richard speaks and reads Russian well. He studied the Russian language by himself. His favorite Russian writers are Leo Tolstoy, Turgenev and Gogol. He copies Russian variety shows from recordings – songs from the 40s era performed by Shulzhenko and Ulyosov. He is also interested in contemporary variety and loves the songs by the performer Alla  Pugachova. When I showed him my song “Waltz Of Love” that I had co-written with composer Lydmilla Lyadova, he copied it on his tape recorder and then played it many times, never losing interest.

Richard Holden’s career began as a dancer and in time he became a soloist with the “Metropolitan Opera Ballet” in New York City. During that time he graduated from the Institute of Choreology in London where he studied dance notation with Rudolph Benesh and the working repertories of the Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. He staged and rehearsed works from the international ballet repertory and assisted Mikhail Baryshnikov.

His own original choreography is  performed at the present time by professional theatrical companies all over the USA. Especially popular are his versions of the ballets ‘Firebird” and “The Two Pigeons”, that have toured throughout the USA and parts of Europe by a troupe called “The New York Theater Ballet”.

Richard confessed to me that he dreams of bringing his versions of these popular ballets in the USA to Russia in order to present them on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater.

Richard lives in a small but comfortable house in Tucson. He has a dog, Sonya, who he loves very much and who I myself know well because for several days I was his guest at which time we all three drove many times in his automobile around the city, acquainting me with its sights.

Richard writes many articles about the musical art and about dance. He works on the staff as a choreographer for the theatrical company “Arizona Opera” and leads a Russian dance ensemble called  “Kalinka” which performs with a balalaika orchestra from the University of Arizona. In one of his letters Richard told me that in the city of Reno, in the State of Nevada, there was an International Balalaika Festival in which he performed the Russian sailor’s dance, “Yablochka”.

So lives our American friend, Richard Holden, who popularizes our Russian art forms in the USA. We wish him further success in his creative life. 

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