#TBT: Élisabeth Platel and Nicholas Le Riche in "Grand Pas Classique" (1993)

As any bunhead can attest, sometimes there is nothing more exhilarating than pure ballet technique in all its glory. Victor Gsovsky's famous plotless pas de deux, Grand Pas Classique, is a celebration of just that. In this clip from a 1993 gala, former Paris Opera Ballet étoiles Élisabeth Platel and Nicholas Le Riche's performance of the piece is pristine classical perfection. The dancers appear the epitome of elegance in crisp white costumes against a blue backdrop. From the moment the two touch hands and Platel whips into a double soutenu en dedans, you know you're in for a treat.



The adagio is delightfully dramatic; the score alternates between lyrical and allegro sections, and the choreography features intricate promenades and several unsupported balances for the ballerina. Both Le Riche and Platel bring a gorgeous sense of length and line to each step, a testament to their French training. Le Riche, just 21 years old here, sails through the endless tours and batterie in his variation. In Platel's, every sous-sus and coupé is as clean and stunning as her pirouettes and ballonnés. Her attention to detail makes the variation much more beautiful than just a series of tricks. The icing on the cake, however, are her fouettés. A little surprise flair makes the coda a showstopper, even after the spectacular pas. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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