PANOV, VALERY (Valery Matyevich Shulman ; 1938– ), Russian/Israeli dancer and choreographer. He was born in Witebsk and changed his name to Panov in 1958. He studied at the Leningrad choreographic school (1951–1957) and also at the Vilnius ballet school (1953–56) as well as at the Moscow choreographic school (1954). In his Russian career Panov was the leading dancer of the Leningrad Maly Theater Ballet (1957–1964) and soloist of the Kirov Ballet (1963–72) from which he was expelled and briefly imprisoned after his application for an exit visa to Israel. In 1974 he left the Soviet Union with his wife, dancer Galina Pavlova, for Israel, where he appeared as guest artist with the *Batsheva and Bat-Dor dance companies (1974–77). Thereafter he was guest choreographer and principal dancer at the German opera ballet and staged ballets in San Francisco, Vienna, Stockholm, Antwerp, and Santiago.
Panov, who was one of the greatest virtuoso dancers in the Soviet Union, received the Lenin Prize in 1969 and the title of Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. He also published an autobiography in 1978.
In 2000 Panov founded in the Israeli city of Ashdod the Panov Theater and ballet school. His troupe of 24 dancers regularly performs ballets staged by him.
[Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]