thunderous applause, Russian ballerina Ludmilla Vlasova made her first Bolshoi Ballet appearance yesterday since last month's drama in New York, when she spurned the chance to join her defector husband after a three-day impasse at Kennedy Airport.
Dancing a leading role in Prokofiew's whimsical ballet "Love for Love," the dark-haired Vlasova brought the Sunday morning Bolshoi Theatre crowd of dance lovers to its feet. They gave her five curtain calls and showered her with bouquets of red, yellow and pink roses and carnations.
At a stage-door interview afterward, the ballerina said, "Tell my husband I love him very much . . . I would very much like to hear from him."
Vlasova's husband, Alexander Godunov, defected just one month ago in New York, and American officials refused to allow a Soviet plane carrying his wife to leave for Moscow until the U.S. was sure she genuinely did not want to stay. The airport confrontation lasted three days, and Vlasova finally returned here Aug. 28 to a carefully orchestrated, filmed welcome and denunciations of the U.S. "special service."
She said yesterday that she has heard "nothing" from her 29-year-old husband since he disappeared from his New York hotel room Aug. 22. "I don't think he decided (to defect)," she said. "He got into some sort of situation that is still not clear to me."
The 36-year-old ballerina refused in a soft voice to comment on the defections of Leonid and Valentina Kozlov, a husband-and-wife team who also defected from the Bolshoi. The three defections, first ever in the 203-year history of the proud ballet company, have brought great political embarrassment to the Soviet Union.The government-controlled press here to far has ignored the Kozlov defections and hinted strongly that Godunov was the unwitting victim of an intelligence agency plot to discredit the Soviet Union.
Vlasova said yesterday that she believed her husband, whom she called "very talented," will "do very well in America." She said she had begun rehearsing for the part of Beatrice in "Love for Love" two days after returning here from the New York episode. The role is one of several principal parts she has danced over the years to favorable notices.
She said the company had not been demoralized by the loss of three talented dancers. Her husband was considered to have a star's future ahead of him here, but one clouded by his refusal to accept political restrictions that prevented him from speaking out and mingling with Westeners.
The troupe's morale has not suffered, Vlasova said. "The Bolshoi Theatre is the Bolshoi Theatre . . . morale remains high."
She said she has no more parts for the rest of the month, but will resume regular dance classes with her colleagues today. She said she doesn't yet know what her next role will be.
When a reporter complimented her on her looks, Vlasova said with a faint smile, "My husband always said I was very beautiful. Say to him I'm beautiful and I love him very much."