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Ballet’s Dramatic Entrances

Rojo and Polunin in Marguerite and Armand. Bill Cooper via The Telegraph.

Whether it's an oh-so fashionably late arrival to a ball or an endless line of impressively in-sync penchés, ballets know the power of a dramatic entrance. (Appropriate, perhaps, that the word “entrance" has a double meaning, depending on how you pronounce it: “an entry" and also “to enthrall.") Take a look at some of our favorite wing-to-stage moments.


Cinderella

Antoinette Sibley, Anthony Dowell, The Royal Ballet (1969)

Clad in a wide, diaphanous cape, Cinderella glides onto the stage and down the stairs during the ball scene of Sir Frederick Ashton's version, as if in a dream.

Odile

Uliana Lopatkina, Bolshoi Ballet (2007)

Odile enters on Rothbart's arm in a flurry of horn blares and a stormy lowering of stage lights (0:50). Intrigued, the Queen acknowledges the late arrival, and Odile casts her spell with a glittering, dark smile.

Kingdom of Shades

Paris Opéra Ballet (2012)

When the first group of eight dancers has zigzagged its way down the ramp in La Bayadère's Kingom of Shades scene, it seems impossible that they just keep coming—and coming and coming. The precision in the adagio section that follows is truly mesmerizing.

Marguerite and Armand

Tamara Rojo and Sergei Polunin, The Royal Ballet (2013)

Again, Ashton proves to be a master of drama. Marguerite, utterly still, watches her clandestine lover enter. So much emotion charged in one stare! This pas de deux is a must-see.

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Brittany Cavaco in Until Midnight. Claire Morris, Courtesy Cavaco.

A white tulle dress, time travel, the Eiffel Tower at night... these elements come together in Until Midnight, a new dance film by Christopher Alexander of Zen Film Works. This eight-minute long vignette opens with Louise (played by Louise Schirmer), a former ballerina now living alone in old age. Through the delivery of a mysterious letter and a wristwatch from her past, she returns briefly to her youthful self, danced by former Washington Ballet dancer Brittany Cavaco. In a Cinderella-like twist, Louise has until midnight to find her beloved Jean Pierre (Sebastien Thill, former dancer with Paris Opera Ballet and Hamburg Ballet) for one last dance. According to Cavaco, all of the movement was improvised, created by herself and Alexander in each location.

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Peter Boal in class a New York City Center. Courtesy PNB.

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Ashley Bouder in George Balanchine and Alexandra Danilova's Coppélia. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

Hollywood may have the Oscars, but ballet has the Prix de Benois de la Danse. Held every spring at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater, the prestigious international awards ceremony recognizes dancers, choreographers, composers and designers for their extraordinary work on and off the stage. This year's laureates, chosen by a jury, were announced during an awards ceremony last night, followed by a star-studded gala featuring many of the nominated artists.

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Still via YouTube

American Ballet Theatre principal James Whiteside is known for more than just his uber-charismatic presence on the ballet stage; He doubles as both the drag queen Ühu Betch and the pop star JbDubs. Whiteside's newest musical release, titled WTF, came out last week, and is for sure his most ballet-filled song to date. Both the lyrics and the choreography are jam-packed with bunhead references, from the Rose Adagio to Haglund's Heel to a framed portrait of George Balanchine. Not to mention the fact that he and his four backup dancers (Matthew Poppe, Douane Gosa, Maxfield Haynes and Gianni Goffredo) absolutely kill it in pointe shoes.

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