Pointe Stars

At just 16 years old, the Bolshoi Ballet's Maria Alexandrova already had the makings of a great artist. In this variation from Coppélia, she portrays the carefree Swanilda with blithe, youthful ease.

When she bounds on stage in her perky pink tutu, you immediately notice her legs–they just go on forever. In the first sequence of steps she keeps her jetés and développés low, but then the phrase repeats and she lets her gorgeous extensions fly. She sails through Italian fouettés and whirls around in piqués en manège that get faster and faster. While she nails all the virtuosic movement, Alexandrova also pays beautiful attention to detail throughout the variation. Even the simplest steps become something exciting, like her precise pas de bourrées beginning at 1:03 that sing with musicality.

Swanilda has been one of Alexandrova's signature roles throughout her career. For a fun side by side, watch her perform the same variation almost 20 years later in this video. Although Alexandrova formally retired from the Bolshoi in February, she still performs frequently in Moscow and internationally as a guest artist. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!


Pointe Stars

Last week, The Royal Ballet's Zenaida Yanowsky took her final bow at Covent Garden—a stage she called home for 23 years. Beloved by Britain's loyal ballet fans, she captivated audiences throughout her 16 years as a principal dancer. At 5' 9" Yanowsky is regal and striking, breaking the mold of the more traditional, diminutive English ballerina.

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George Balanchine coaching Le Clercq in class (Photo via The New York Times)

Known for her long limbs and leggy grace, Tanaquil Le Clercq was one of the most transcendent American ballerinas of her generation. George Balanchine's fourth and final wife, Le Clercq was an inspirational muse for both Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, who choreographed Afternoon of a Faun for her in 1953. The ballet, described as “a chance encounter between two young dancers in a studio," is dedicated to Le Clercq, who shines in this 1953 clip alongside partner Jacques d'Amboise.

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It's often said that the key ingredient in a successful partnership is trust. In this 1994 clip from a Dancers for Life benefit performance, Royal Winnipeg Ballet's Evelyn Hart and National Ballet of Canada's Rex Harrington demonstrate trust in action as they perform Jiří Kylián's Nuages. The two stars of Canadian ballet frequently danced together, and the result is a beautiful example of vulnerability and strength. The aquatic, push-pull effect of Kylián's choreography appears seamless, as if they were breathing as one. Watch the sequence at 1:30, as Hart arches over Harrington's arm, then falls forward over her pointe shoes to her knees—it's a cantilevered moment that could easily look manhandled if not perfectly timed. But these two make it as elastic as taffy. Hart dances completely free, because she has no doubt that Harrington will catch her.

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Young Misty Copeland at her ABT Audition.

I think we can all agree that Misty Copeland has that special something: a mix of killer technique and eye-catching charisma. But did she always have that spark? While Copeland has certainly grown as an artist through the years—she's even making her Giselle debut tomorrow on American Ballet Theatre's tour to Oman—one video shows a glimmer of the star-in-the-making 20 years ago. Copeland recently shared this clip of one of her early student performances on Instagram. Her pirouettes? Pretty clean. Her feet? Hello, arches. And her smile? Undeniable. According to Copeland, she'd only been dancing one year when this video was taken. We're totally impressed. Happy #TBT!

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What do you get when you mix a dizzying amount of pirouettes with Mikhail Baryshnikov? Pure cinema gold—and one of the most famous dance movie scenes of all time. In this clip from the 1985 hit movie White Nights, Misha combines his technical prowess with his effortless cool. Raymond, played by legendary tapper Gregory Hines, challenges Kolya, a Soviet dancer who has defected (played by Baryshnikov) to a bet. In order to take Raymond's 11 rubels, Kolya must do 11 consecutive pirouettes. It's a feat that even today's most talented dancers can't accomplish. But Misha, is, well, Misha. Check out his mesmerizing turns—and then practice your own. Happy #TBT!

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

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They say injury can be a great teacher: When Texas Ballet Theater dancer Carolyn Judson was sidelined with a back injury in 2007, her interest in health piqued. “I wondered how I could heal myself, so I began to research and read,” she says. “I was amazed at what I found. I turned to food that reduced pain and inflammation.” She credits the dietary changes she made, in addition to getting introduced to Gyrotonic, with helping her recover more quickly.

Judson in The Sleeping Beauty (photo by Ellen Appel, courtesy TBT)

As time went on, Judson decided to expand her education. She enrolled in an online health coach training program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, graduating in 2013. “I would come home from rehearsal and go right to class. The program also covered how to start up a business.” Judson has since built her own website, which features many of her popular recipes. See below for her healthy veggie tacos!

Ingredients

Serves 3 to 5.

3 zucchini squash, ends trimmed, cut lengthwise

3 carrots, peeled

1 sweet potato, peeled, cut lengthwise

1 onion, peeled, cut into quarters

sea salt

1 15-ounce can black beans

1 avocado

crumbled feta cheese

corn tortillas

juice from 1 lime

cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil

salsa or hot sauce (optional)

  1. Grate the vegetables in a food processor, keeping each one separate after grating.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a medium pan and add the onion, carrots and sweet potato. Add a pinch or two of salt. Once they begin to soften, add the zucchini. Meanwhile, heat your canned black beans in a small sauce pan.
  3. Place the cooked vegetables on top of your tortillas. Top with beans, sliced avocado, crumbled feta cheese, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Serve with salsa or hot sauce. Enjoy!

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue.

Pointe Stars
Photo by Steven Visneau, courtesy Texas ballet Theater.

They say injury can be a great teacher: When Texas Ballet Theater dancer Carolyn Judson was sidelined with a back injury in 2007, her interest in health piqued. “I wondered how I could heal myself, so I began to research and read," she says. “I was amazed at what I found. I turned to food that reduced pain and inflammation." She credits the dietary changes she made, in addition to getting introduced to Gyrotonic, with helping her recover more quickly.

As time went on, Judson decided to expand her education. She enrolled in an online health coach training program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, graduating in 2013. “I would come home from rehearsal and go right to class. The program also covered how to start up a business." Judson has since built her own website, which features many of her popular recipes.

Keep reading... Show less

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