American Ballet Theatre is in the midst of Le Corsaire this week as part of the company's annual season at the Metropolitan Opera House. One of the ballet's most celebrated and challenging male roles is Ali, the Slave. Daniil Simkin is dancing the part this week. A dancer who never seems to disappoint, Simkin is sure to pull out all the technical stops and dazzle audiences with his charisma (case in point).


Ali is a role that Simkin has been dancing for more than half his life. Before his ABT debut as Ali in 2012, Simkin put together a compilation of himself performing the variation at different stages in his training. Even at 12 years old, Simkin had impressive ballon and bravura. We loved watching him transition from a lanky pre-teen with shaky pirouettes into a confident and graceful performer. The clips show off his signature feather-light jumps, and when he hits the ending pose at 2:05 you can glimpse his already infectious onstage personality. Stick around until the end for an extra, adorable clip of Simkin as a kid. And below, see Simkin's sparkling take on the variation from earlier this week. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Viral Videos

Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop gives pointe shoe fitting tips for what she calls "octopus feet"; feet that slide down and fit into whatever shoes they're in.

Keep reading... Show less
Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine

It is perhaps the understatement of the century to say that Misty Copeland—American Ballet Theatre principal, trailblazing role model, and straight-up ballet icon—knows how to work a pair of pointe shoes. But a new campaign for Stuart Weitzman, in which Copeland trades her ballet "boots" for some boots of the more traditional kind, proves (yet again) that she's a dance goddess in any kind of footwear.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars

For many a bunhead, "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is not just a holiday tradition, but a rite of passage. The variation, with its tinkling celesta, bourrées and petit battus, is one that all ballet dancers are familiar with, and getting the opportunity to perform it often represents moving into new realms in your training or career. Such was the case for Soviet ballerina Ekaterina Maximova. In this 1957 clip, the 18-year-old aspirant performed the Sugar Plum variation at a ballet competition, where she represented the Bolshoi Ballet Academy.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Same feet, but different shoes... Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop interviews Milwaukee Ballet dancers and identical twin sisters Elizabeth Harrison and Marie Harrison-Collins to find out all of their pointe shoe hacks, proving once and for all just how individual each dancer's pointe shoe preferences are.

Keep reading... Show less