Just for fun

Celebrate National Best Friend Day With Our 5 Favorite Ballet BFFs

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Elizabeth Murphy and Sarah Ricard Orza in Peter Boal's staging of "Giselle." Photo by Angela Sterling.

Though you may not know it, June 8 is National Best Friends Day. Obviously this provides an opportunity to celebrate some of our favorite friendships in ballet, but maybe not the kind you're thinking of. Instead of rounding up our favorite real-life besties (hi, ABT Cindies), we're taking a look at some of ballet's onstage friendships. While lots of classical ballets include love triangles with characters tearing each other down, there are some occasions where friendship flourishes. Check out some of our favorites below, and don't forget to wish your studio BFFs a happy National Best Friends Day!

Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio, Romeo & Juliet

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Benjamin Griffiths (Benvolio), James Moore (Romeo), and Jonathan Porretta (Mercutio) in Jean-Christophe Maillot's "Roméo et Juliette." Photo by Angela Sterling.

Sure, Juliet has her nurse, but Mercutio literally duels to his death against Tybalt for his BFF Romeo—talk about a loyal friend. But before all of the drama unfolds, Romeo, Mercutio and Benvolio were just your average besties, sneaking into parties and hanging out at the marketplace.


Four Little Swans, Swan Lake

Pacific Northwest Ballet corps de ballet dancers Carli Samuelson and Madison Rayn Abeo, and soloists Angelica Generosa and Leta Biasucci in Kent Stowell's "Swan Lake." Photo by Angela Sterling.

These ladies are the original clique. Not only are they attached at the hip, they're completely in sync all the time, from the tilt of their heads to their precise footwork.

Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Don Quixote

Pacific Northwest Ballet guest artists Tom Skerritt (Don Q) and Allen Galli (Sancho Panza) with company dancers in Alexei Ratmansky's "Don Quixote." Photo by Angela Sterling.

While ballets are filled with all manner of trusty sidekicks, there is no one quite as idealistic and optimistic in his commitment to his pal as Sancho Panza is to Don Quixote. Even though Don Q may be dreaming of a more beautiful companion, they're content to spend their days adventuring together.

Myrtha's Sidekick Wilis, Giselle

Pacific Northwest Ballet principal dancers Elizabeth Murphy and Sarah Ricard Orza in Peter Boal's staging of "Giselle." Photo by Angela Sterling.

Even in death, Moyna and Zulma are BFFs, helping Myrtha round up the rest of the Wilis. While some might say the Wilis are a little coldhearted given that they spend their nights dancing men to death, we think M and Z's friendship proves otherwise (plus, most of those guys probably deserved it).

Swanilda's Crew, Coppélia

San Francisco Ballet's Frances Chung in "Coppelia." Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB.

1

Ask yourself this: If your BFF found a key lying outside someone's house, would you be down to follow her inside? After all, this is an act better known as breaking and entering. Basically, what we're getting at is that Swanilda's friends must really love her if they're willing to get into those sorts of shenanigans.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

Keep reading... Show less
The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
Left: Misa Kuranaga in The Veritginous Thrill of Exactitude. Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet. Right: Sasha Mukhamedov in Apollo. Altin Kaftira, Courtesy Dutch National Ballet.

San Francisco Ballet just announced some major news: longtime Boston Ballet star Misa Kuranaga will be joining the company as a principal dancer for the 2019-20 season, while Dutch National Ballet principal Sasha Mukhamedov has been hired as a soloist. They join a slew of newly promoted SFB principals and soloists, announced earlier this year.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Xiao Nan Yu in company class. Aaron Vincent, Courtesy National Ballet of Canada.

On June 22, National Ballet of Canada principal Xiao Nan Yu will retire from the stage after 22 years with the company. Originally from Dalian, China, Yu studied at the Shen Yang School of Dance and the Beijing Dance Academy before coming to Canada's National Ballet School at age 17. She joined the National Ballet of Canada less than two years later, and was promoted to principal in 2001.

"She is a supreme dance actress with an innate ability to bring the audience into her world," says NBoC artistic director Karen Kain. "Nan has always brought such a calm confidence into the studio and has been a role model for so many dancers I will miss her generosity both inside the studio and out." We spoke with Yu as she prepared for her final week of performances. She opened up about her initial culture shock upon moving to Toronto, her thoughts on artistry and why she chose Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow as her final role.

Keep reading... Show less