An integral portion of Le Corsaire’s first act is the Odalisque pas de trois—a dance by three slave girls whom the audience knows little about. Choreographed to a grandiose score, the Odalisque variations act as an interlude in the ballet's larger plot. Their precise and petite steps cater to the meekness and femininity of the role. This recording from 1999 showcases Gillian Murphy taking this character to a new level as a recently promoted soloist for the American Ballet Theatre.
If you're in the Houston area next week, make sure you put this event on your calendar: May 9–11 at 8 pm, Houston Ballet will give three free performances at the Miller Outdoor Theatre. Two Stanton Welch works are on the program, Play and Sons de L'ame (Sounds of the Soul), as well as the variation-filled third act of Paquita.
The National Ballet of Canada has announced it’s coming to New York City this September, where they’ll perform Christopher Wheeldon’s full-length Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland at the David H. Koch Theater. NYC audiences haven’t seen the Toronto-based company since 2005. The stop is part of an initiative started by NBC Artistic Director Karen Kain to tour more frequently to world dance centers. Last season, the company traveled to Los Angeles (where it will return this summer), Washington DC, and Saratoga Springs.
Matthew Bourne has made a choreographic career out of reimagining classic ballets and giving them dark, contemporary twists. His Sleeping Beauty, described as a "gothic romance" complete with vampires and fairies, is no exception. You can see for yourself tonight: PBS will air Sleeping Beauty as part of its Great Performances series on April 25 at 9 pm EST. Check your local listings and catch a preview below.
Throughout her 18 years dancing with Boston Ballet, Larissa Ponomarenko performed classical and contemporary roles with ease and elegance. But offstage, she was just as entrancing. During my years as a student at Boston Ballet School, I remember my classmates and myself peeking into her rehearsals, gawking at the effortlessness of each step. We knew it came from her Vaganova training, but still couldn’t believe her precision. Though she is often overlooked, Ponomarenko is a cherished icon for many.
This morning, it was 23 degrees on Hurricane Ridge in Washington's Olympic National Park. Down on Rialto Beach, the waves poured around huge rock formations and signs warned tourists they must use bear-proof canisters for storing all food. On the Marymere Falls Trail, a mist hung in the old growth forest that shelters a 90-foot waterfall.
There's nothing more incredible than seeing a dancer master the artistry of a powerful role like Odette/Odile. But let's face it: We're always thrilled once that Black Swan pas coda arrives. Throwing some triples into its series of 32 fouettés won't make or break a ballerina's performance, but boy, can they dazzle an audience.
All the ballerinas of the Paris Opéra Ballet are renowned for their crystalline precision, honed in the company's notoriously rigorous school. But Isabelle Guérin, an étoile with POB from 1983 to 2001, set an especially high standard for technical purity. The slow, mournful pace of Nikiya's death scene from La Bayadère lets us luxuriate in her flawless lines. Here's a recording of that solo from a 1994 performance in Paris. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!
Sarah Jessica Parker has a few identities: Little Orphan Annie, Carrie Bradshaw, and more recently, #1 celebrity ballet advocate. Today from 12–2 pm EST, she will guest host WNYC's Leonard Lopate Show to talk all things ballet. Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov will chat about their Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Ballet.
Beautiful National Ballet of Canada principal Heather Ogden seems to be artists' muse of choice these days. A few months ago, director Ben Shirnian and fellow NBC principal Guillaume Côté released a hypnotic video starring Ogden.