Russian. Studied with Mikhail Gabovich at the Bolshoi Ballet School. Joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 1958, became a principal dancer. He is one of the leading male dancers of the twentieth century.
He often partners his wife, Ekaterina Maximova. Danced the title role in the Yuri Grigorovich production of Spartacus, the Don Quixote pas de deux, and many other roles.
Vladimir Vasilev has choreographed Icarus and won many awards including Honoured Artist of the RSFSR in 1964.