Sir Frederick Ashton first choreographed the Voices of Spring pas de deux on Royal Ballet stars Merle Park and Wayne Eagling in 1977 for a ball scene in Johann Strauss II's operetta Die Fledermaus. The lively duet is a favorite in galas and mixed bills these days, but Park and Eagling's version from this 1983 video is a spectacular, must-see combination of cheek and elegance.
From the moment the couple enters, with Eagling carrying Park over his head as she spills flower petals across the floor, their joy is uncontained. They feed off each other, the audience and the ball guests sitting on stage. The two somehow make the unexpected direction changes look breezy and playful. Famous for her animation on stage, Park is effervescent as Eagling whips her through endless turns and tosses her into the air. The challenging lifts, like supported grand jetés, one handed presses and torch lifts, are an impressive display of the dancers' skill and the choreographer's creativity. Eagling even partners while balancing in arabesque and attitude! Our favorite moment: Eagling's brilliant batterie at 1:40, followed by a wild pirouette where he throws his head back in abandon. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!