In the ballet version of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, the audience experiences three acts of distinct characters that surround Don Quixote and Sancho Panza’s journey. Mercedes, a street dancer, is one of many fiery characters. Often danced by a soloist, she appears in Act I as the love interest of a bullfighter. At only 19 years old, Marianela Núñez performed this role and absorbed the audience with her ferocity.
With each step and transition, Marianela takes the character of Mercedes and melds it with her movement, an ability of all great dancers. It’s no surprise she was promoted to principal dancer of The Royal Ballet shortly after this taping in 2001. Not only does she seem to soar with each jump, but she treats each glance as an important component to her character. Although only the start of her career, this video shows how she was to become one of the most enrapturing dancers of our time. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!