Sir Anthony Dowell dedicated four decades for his life to The Royal Ballet, first as a principal dancer, and then as the company's artistic director. His monumental career is a testament to his love for the art form. That love can also be seen in this solo from a 1980 performance of Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen's Four Schumann Pieces, created for the company five years earlier. Van Manen's choreography slips in and out of pedestrian and balletic vocabulary. Dowell demonstrates his virtuosity by ascending into sublime classical shapes without an intimation of effort.


Van Manen uses repeated steps to construct complex movement patterns that reflect Robert Schumann's lilting syncopations. Simple gestures and minimal port de bras serve as a counterpoint to highly technical phrasing for the lower body. Despite constant weight shifts, Dowell sustains each balance with impeccable placement. His prolonged concentration throughout the solo makes the understated dance nothing short of thrilling. Full of soaring elegance, one of the most beautiful moments in this solo comes at 1:40, when Dowell breathtakingly slides from a suspended pirouette into a split as the music climbs to a crescendo. Happy #ThrowbackThursday.

Viral Videos

In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars

Noëlla Pontois, the striking, lithe and fiercely technical former étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet, was renown for her interpretation of aristocratic roles in 19th-century ballets. In this 1983 performance from Rudolf Nureyev's production of Raymonda, Pontois is at her most imperious and entrancing in the title role's wedding variation.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Have small heels? Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop gives her top tips on finding the best fitting pointe shoes for when your heel tends to slide around.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos
Getty Images

Further showing that whatever mere humans can do, ballerinas can do more gracefully, the Australian Ballet created the most beautiful obstacle course we've ever seen, and then put their dancers to the test. Naturally, when it came to execution, the company members went above and beyond: Why jump over a hurdle when you could pas de chat, or run to the finish when you could chaîné?

Watch the full video (which first premiered on World Ballet Day) below, featuring soloist Nicola Curry and dancers of the Australian Ballet.

Keep reading... Show less