The Moiseyev Dance Ensemble is considered by some to be Russia’s greatest theatrical folk dance company. Formed in 1937 by Igor Aleksandrovich Moiseyev, the ensemble served as a cultural ambassador for the Soviet Union.
The founder of the company, Igor Alexandrovich Moiseyev has been widely acclaimed as the greatest 20th-century choreographer of character dance, a dance style similar to folk dance but with more professionalism and theatrics.
Moiseyev graduated from the Bolshoi Theatre ballet school in 1924 and danced in the theatre until 1939. His first choreography in the Bolshoi was Footballer in 1930 and the last was Spartacus in 1954.
Since the early 1930s, he staged acrobatic parades on Red Square and finally came up with the idea of establishing the Theatre of Folk Art.
Moiseyev was named People’s Artist of the USSR in 1953, Hero of Socialist Labor in 1976, received the Lenin Prize (1967, for the dance show A Road to the Dance), four Stalin/USSR State Prizes(1942, 1947, 1952, 1985), Russian Federation State Prize (1996), was awarded numerous orders and medals of the Soviet Union, Spain and many other countries. On the day of his centenary, Moiseyev became the first Russian to receive Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 1st class — the highest civilian decoration of the Russian Federation. In 2001, he was awarded the UNESCO Mozart Medal for outstanding contribution to world music culture. He died in Moscow on 2 November 2007 aged 101.