The Russian ballerina Lyudmila Semenyaka, a former prima of the Bolshoi Theater, is celebrating her 50th birthday today. Semenyaka's career in the performing arts was a brilliant one. As a student of the Vaganova School of Choreography, in St. Petersburg, she won two national ballet contests and an international competition in Varna, Bulgaria. Upon graduation, she worked at the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theater (the Mariinsky), and in 1972 was invited to the Bolshoi, to spend there the next 25 years of her dancing career. She toured the world as part of the Bolshoi ballet company, winning the admiration of audiences around the globe. "Typical of Lyudmila Semenyaka was the refined art of the Leningrad ballet school, with its beautiful line and its pure dancing. Without losing those precious characteristics as she joined the Bolshoi company, she added to them what is considered to be the Moscow school's hallmark-high emotional expressiveness-to achieve stardom, becoming a leading ballet dancer of the '70s-'80s," the dancer and choreographer Mikhail Lavrovsky said in a RIA Novosti interview.