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!

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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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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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