Boston Ballet principal Derek Dunn flies through the air in Leonid Yakobson's Vestris. Rachel Neville, Courtesy Boston Ballet.

Standout Performances of 2019: Boston Ballet's Derek Dunn in "Vestris"

Imagine stepping into an iconic role made famous by one of ballet's greatest living legends. That was the challenge for Boston Ballet's Derek Dunn in the company's premiere of Vestris, a solo that Soviet-era choreographer Leonid Yakobson created especially for the physical and dramatic artistry of a young Mikhail Baryshnikov. Yet Dunn pulled it off with dazzling élan and technical assurance.

A small, powerhouse dancer who is really coming into his own, Dunn began his career with Houston Ballet, joining Boston Ballet in 2017 as a soloist. Quickly stepping into the spotlight, he was promoted to principal dancer last season and has become well known for his brilliant turns, buoyant leaps and deep musicality, not to mention dramatic depth and charisma to spare. Vestris, inspired by the famous French dancer/pedagogue Auguste Vestris (1760–1842), seemed tailor-made for Dunn's talents. As the technical and theatrical tour de force unspooled a vivid cast of characters, from doddering old man to imperious dandy to drunken oaf, Dunn brought each to life with masterful command and fanciful comic flair.

Latest Posts

Vikki Sloviter

Sydney Dolan Takes Center Stage at Pennsylvania Ballet

This is Pointe's Summer 2020 cover story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

Just days before the world shuttered under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic, and the curtain came down indefinitely on dance companies everywhere, Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Sydney Dolan debuted Gamzatti in La Bayadère with captivating ease. Her jumps soared, her technique was sound, and her cheeky smile paired with exquisite port de bras was beguiling. Though she didn't know the company would soon cancel the remainder of its season, her beautiful performance acted as a kind of send-off into the unknown.

Dolan's career could be described in one word: charmed. At just 19 years old, she's flown through the ranks at PAB, debuted a long list of roles, won a Princess Grace Award and been named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch." Yet it's her challenges that have shaped not only her training but her outlook, giving her a solid foundation for becoming one of Pennsylvania Ballet's rising stars.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How to Efficiently Improve Stamina

I'm consistently out of breath when I do petit allégro. Any suggestions on how to efficiently improve my stamina? —Kristin

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Viktorina Kapitonova in "Swan Lake Bath Ballet" (photo by Ryan Capstick, courtesy Corey Baker Dance)

Please Enjoy the Quarantine Genius of “Swan Lake Bath Ballet”

That old saying about limitations breeding creativity—hat tip to Orson Welles—has never felt more relevant than in these lockdown days. Here's the latest brilliant dance project born (hatched?) of quarantine restrictions: "Swan Lake Bath Ballet," a contemporary take on the classic featuring 27 A-list ballet dancers performing from their own bathtubs.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks