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Long Beach : Arrival of Russian Ballet Dancers Will Be a First

November 16, 1989

Long Beach residents on Friday will get a glimpse of the latest results of perestroika. They are Vitaly Artyushkin, his wife, Alla Khaniashvili-Artyushkina, and their 7-year-old daughter, Katya, a family of Russian ballet dancers who say they are the first in their country to be allowed to come to the United States specifically to dance with an American ballet company.

Both principal dancers in the Bolshoi Ballet, the parents will play leading roles in the Long Beach Ballet Company's production of the suite from the "Nutcracker" ballet scheduled at the Terrace Theater Dec. 16 to 24. Their daughter, who has never danced professionally before, will also appear.

"They are two of the greatest dancers in the world," David Wilcox, the ballet's artistic director, said of the parents. "Any ballet company would be falling over backwards to get that caliber of dancers working with them."

On Friday, local dignitaries will officially welcome the family to Long Beach during a ceremony at City Hall.

Wilcox said the family--which will begin rehearsing in Long Beach next week--plans to stay in the United States for about a year. "I'm going to try to get them to continue performing with us throughout the season," he said. "This is the end of all this Cold War business; art brings us closer together."

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