The ballet Don Quixote depicts classical Russian elegance dressed in fiery Spanish flair. Although Marius Petipa’s version for the Bolshoi Ballet debuted in 1869, most modern productions are based off of Alexander Gorksy’s 1900 revival. He sought to trade Petipa’s pageantry for more naturalistic story telling. However, it seems that Gorsky ceded to the suspension of narrative in Act III, keeping the grandiose wedding pas de deux to showcase the Bolshoi stars’ resplendent technique.
Don Quixote’s flirtatious and spunky Kitri is an exciting character for ballerinas to portray—any role is fun if it includes a prop fan! But it’s also an important stepping-stone in a dancer’s professional career, alongside Juliet, Odette/Odile and Aurora. In this 1998 recording, Paloma Herrera masters the role, raising the standard for future Kitris in only her third year as principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre. As she dances this variation, Herrera consumes the stage, abandoning all fear.
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.
It seems like only a few days ago that Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev swept onto the international dance scene, bewitching audiences with their feats of daredeviltry. Yet it was back in 2006 that the pair made their breakout debuts as Kitri and Basilio in Don Quixote at the Bolshoi. They were babies, too: Osipova was 20 and Vasiliev, just 18. Here are a few exhilarating excerpts from that first performance. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!
Walking may seem like the simplest moment you have on stage. But the way in which you take a step can reveal volumes about your character. In Pointe’s April/May issue, four dancers spoke with writer Joseph Carman about how they approach the walking and running in their signature roles. Here, Boston Ballet principal Erica Cornejo offers her take on Kitri’s steps.
It's been over 60 years since the last time The Joffrey commissioned a new full-length ballet. So there's been a bunch of buzz surrounding the company's world premiere of Yuri Possokhov's Don Quixote, which opens tomorrow night at Roosevelt University. To drum up even more excitement, the Joffrey Academy of Dance is presenting a Don Q–themed master class next week. Dancer Ericka Mac will give a brief history of the ballet's story and choreography, then launch into a full barre warm up set to Don Q music and teach students Kitri's sassy variation.