A Memorial to Lilia Valieva

Lilia was born January 16, 1961 to Samuel and Zaituna Lugin in Ufa, Russia.

Lilia Valieva, wife of Eldar Valiev and mother of Samat Valiev, passed away peacefully on December 28th at home surrounded by her beloved family. She served as Co-Artistic Director of the Festival Ballet of North Central Texas and part owner and Ballet Mistress of the Denton Ballet Academy. She was 53. Her many devoted students remember her as a gracious and professional mentor who set an example of poise and beauty that was surpassed only by her kindness. Her husband of 30 years remembers her as the one and only love of his life. Their son remembers her as having the touch of an angel. Only her close family knew of the courageous battle she waged for two and a half years against the illness that took her. She showed strength that belied her elegant stature, and courage surpassing all understanding, as she generously conducted rehearsals and classes for her students until just two weeks before she departed this life.

Lilia graduated from the world renowned Vaganova Ballet Academy, also known as Kirov Ballet School, in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1979. Lilia attended the ballet academy with her childhood friend from Ufa, Eldar, who would become her future husband. After graduation, she was the principal ballerina with the State Theater of Opera and Ballet of Bashkortostan. Lilia married Eldar in 1983, and later they had their son Samat in 1984.

Lilia joined the Eifman Ballet Theater in 1991, and in 1993, Lilia accepted an invitation from the National Icelandic Ballet in Reykjavik. Three years later, Lilia made her debut in the U.S.A. with a leading role in Giselle as the principal ballerina with Greenville Ballet Company, in South Carolina.

In addition to her company positions as a principal ballerina Ms Valieva also toured extensively throughout Europe with Stars of the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballets. Her favorite roles included: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fary in The Nutcracker, Kitri in Don Quixote, Pad de Quatre, Le Sylphide, Coppelia, Paquita, and many others.

Lilia retired from dance in 1998, and assumed the role of the Assistant Dance Director and Ballet Mistress at the Cumberland County Playhouse, in addition to teaching for Jennifer Austin at Arts in Motion in Kingston, TN.

In 2011, Lilia came to Denton, Texas to assume a leadership role as owner and Ballet Mistress of the Denton Ballet Academy and Co-Artistic Director of the Festival Ballet of North Central Texas. In her years in Denton she produced, with her husband Eldar, three Graduation Recitals for the Denton Ballet Academy and three full length productions of The Nutcracker for Festival Ballet.

Lilia always had the best outlook on all circumstances in life. As she decided to fight her battle with illness privately, she and Eldar allowed the Festival Ballet community to build authentic and full relationships with them not forged from sorrow or sympathy, but as real, vibrant and genuine dedicated individuals committed to a strong ballet presence in Denton. Their choice to keep the Denton Ballet Academy and past 3 Nutcracker performances “sadness free” not only took grace and courage, but also showed how much they love what they are doing and the people they are doing it with.

Lilia is survived by her husband, Eldar Valiev and their son Samat Valiev. Her brother, Riff Lugin and their children, Vitaliy and Gera. Her sister and brother in law, Era and Andrei Jouravlev and their daughter Anastasia Gibson.