Viral Videos

Fur and Feathers: Our Favorite Ballet Creatures (Minus Swans and Firebirds)

Mr. Jeremy FIsher, from Sir Frederick Ashton's "The Tales of Beatrix Potter."

Animal roles might not typically be what dancers dream of performing…but they're oh-so-fun to watch. You can't help falling under their spell (and perhaps aspiring to dance one someday). Here's a round-up of some of our favorite furry and feathered roles.

Bunny Hop

Run. Dance in a circle. Pretend to be a rabbit. It might sound like a creative movement combo, but don't let that fool you. The role of Peter Rabbit in Sir Frederick Ashton's The Tales of Beatrix Potter requires fierce technique—not to mention the ability to project personality while wearing an animal head and fur suit.


Four-Legged Interlude

Who do you turn to for halftime entertainment during a quartet of fairy variations? Dancing lizards, mice and a frog of course! This charming quintet of creatures light up the stage in David Bintley's Cinderella.



Do the Chicken Dance

Ever get the classic "don't make chicken arms" correction in class? Well, there is a ballet role that requires a whole of lot of chicken-ness—though not perhaps in the sense that your teacher meant. These balletic barnyard birds strut, shuffle and flap their wings through Ashton's La Fille mal Gardée, performed here by Bavarian State Ballet.


Cats on the Loose at a Royal Wedding

Sounds like a bad idea, but it works beautifully in the realm of Sleeping Beauty. (Because, fairy tales.) And this sassy, gleefully pas de chat-ing pair clearly conveys that they're royalty on par with the human guests.


Amphibian Allegro

What does the dance embodiment of three cappuccinos look like? Perhaps this solo by Jeremy Fisher—another memorable character from Ashton's Beatrix Potter.


A New Bird

Tutu? Check. Pointe shoes? Check. Metallic feathers? Check! The Cuckoo from Justin Peck's The Most Incredible Thing is a modern ballet bird full of dazzling footwork and contemporary freedom. And it's a perfect showcase for New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck's laser-sharp precision and speed.


Party Animal

Some characters just take on lives of their own…like Boston Ballet's Nutcracker party scene bear. Onstage—and off—this creature adds an irresistible dash of fun to whatever scene he's dancing in.

Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

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At this point, you'd think we'd all be used to the level of technical absurdity Daniil Simkin achieves when he's playing around in the studio. But then he did this:

...and now we're low-key appalled in the absolute best way.

After we picked our jaws up from the floor, we were inspired to dig up clips of some of our other favorite dancers turning like it's no big deal. Here are just a few standouts.

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