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Sleeping Beauty includes some of ballet's most cherished variations. (Hands up if you learned "Bluebird" as your first variation ever!) This month in 1890, Petipa's ballet premiered at the Imperial Theatre, and it became a favorite first in Russia and eventually around the world.

Let's celebrate with this video of the incomparable Sylvie Guillem dancing Aurora's wedding pas de deux variation with the Paris Opéra Ballet.

 

Ballet dancers layer on a cringe-worthy amount of makeup for performance—pancake, lipstick, eyelash glue—but most probably don't think twice about the chemicals in the products they're using. Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database allows you to search most major cosmetic and bath products, and alerts you when they include ingredients that have been known to cause cancer, skin irritation, allergies and more. Overwhelmed?

Need a little something to warm your heart on this frigid (thanks, polar vortex) morning?

After a stressful day spent arranging her dance school's first performance, ballet teacher Phillipa Burt was surprised by an onstage proposal from her boyfriend, Joe King. The curtains parted at the conclusion of the show to reveal her tutu-clad students holding up letters that spelled, "Marry Me."

All together now: Awwwww.

And good on Mr. King for realizing that for us ballet people, there are few places more special than the stage.

The New York City Ballet Art Series kicked off last year with an installation by Brooklyn-based artists FAILE. The giant tower they constructed for the Koch Theater's promenade was good kitschy fun, peppered with cartoonish images of ballet dancers (among many, many other things).

Few partnerships were more captivating—or more unlikely—than that of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. Though the elegant British ballerina was nearly two decades older than the Russian firebrand, together they made unforgettable magic onstage. Here they are in the balcony scene from Kenneth MacMillan's Romeo and Juliet. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

 

Pointe shoes are just as fascinating to us ballet veterans as they are to non-dance folks—especially when you're looking at how the star dancers modify their own. Recently, the New York Times followed New York City Ballet dancers backstage during Nutcracker performances to see how they customize the 10–12 pairs they each go through a week. While the article explains a lot of what we already know about shoe prep, it's cool to compare your own methods to NYCB's stars. Tiler Peck uses the slam-the-box-against-the-wall method. Janie Taylor closes them in doors.

Huddling around the TV to watch the glitzy Times Square ball drop is a classic New Years' Eve moment. Let's kick off the celebration with a video of one of the most sparkly ballets out there—"Diamonds" from George Balanchine's Jewels. "To me, [the "Diamonds" finale] feels like fireworks," says Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Carla Körbes. "Like a celebration." I'll cheers to that!

 

From everyone at Pointe, best wishes as you move into 2014.

We all make those "to better health" resolutions at the turn of every year. But if taking vitamins is on your list, you might want to think twice. New studies published in Annals of Internal Medicine show that if you're eating a balanced diet, taking a daily multivitamin does not help prevent chronic health problems. There are some exceptions, of course, like people who have dietary restrictions or women who are pregnant.
On this day in 1869, the Imperial Bolshoi Theatre premiered Petipa's Don Quixote. There's no better way to celebrate the ballet's 144th birthday than with this video of Cynthia Harvey and Mikhail Baryshnikov performing it with American Ballet Theatre in 1983. Enjoy!

 

It's just not the holidays until you've watched the classic 1977 film of American Ballet Theatre in The Nutcracker—not least because the production stars the extraordinary Mikhail Baryshnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. PBS used to air it every December, but that tradition came to an end several years ago. So we're upholding it here, with a couple of our favorite clips from the film. Enjoy, and happy holidays, everyone!