#TBT: Nina Ananiashvili and Alexei Fadeyechev in Raymonda

Is anyone more at home onstage than Nina Ananiashvili? Her majestic stage presence is on display in this 1993 clip of her and fellow Bolshoi Ballet star Alexei Fadeyechev dancing Raymonda's Act I pas de deux. The two make a commanding pair, refined and elegant in the opening partnered section. Fadeyechev is a sturdy partner and a solid technician, as evidenced by his wobble-free variation. Ananiashvili draws on her delicate charm, cocking her head sweetly and lightly hopping on pointe in her variation (6:20). Yet underneath that grace lies a steely strength. Just watch the way she attacks her pirouette diagonal (7:33) and performs a sweeping manège of coupé jeté turns (9:05) in the coda.


During the Soviet era, one of Ananiashvili's partners defected to America while the two were guest performing. Afraid of losing her too, the Bolshoi took away her passport. Ananiashvili made history, however, and did what even Baryshnikov and Nureyev could not: She negotiated her freedom. She persuaded the company to allow her to guest outside of Russia and come and go as she pleased. Ananiashvili joined two American companies as a principal—American Ballet Theatre and Houston Ballet—and had a stunning international career. She's now the artistic director of State Ballet of Georgia. Fadeyechev too, took on a directorial role following his stage days. He led the Bolshoi Ballet for two years before co-founding his own company (with Ananiashvili!) in 2000. He now stages ballets around the world.

Fun fact: Ananiashvili was on Pointe's cover 16 years ago. This purple tutu is from Le Corsaire. Ananiashvili danced Medora in ABT's premiere of the ballet in 1998. Happy #FlashbackFriday!

Ballet Careers
Roderick Phifer in Trey McIntyre's The Boogeyman . Bill Hebert, Courtesy BalletX.

This is one of a series of stories on recent graduates' on-campus experiences—and the connections they made that jump-started their dance careers. Roderick Phifer graduated from University of the Arts with a BFA in dance in 2017.

While walking out of a technique class during the first semester of his senior year at Philadelphia's University of the Arts, Roderick Phifer was approached with an unexpected offer. BalletX needed a guest artist for an upcoming performance, and after seeing Phifer perform in one of his senior shows, a UArts alumnus dancing with the company had offered up his name. Phifer ran straight from his technique class to a company class with BalletX, and the troupe's artistic leadership quickly gave him the green light to perform. "It was so last-minute, that, I kid you not, I had three rehearsals," he says. He performed with BalletX as a guest artist that fall, auditioned for an open company position in the spring and had a contract by the end of his senior year.

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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Viral Videos

In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.

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Courtesy Apolla

Ballet dancers today are asked to do more with their bodies than ever before. The physical demands of a ballet career can take an immense toll on a dancer's joints and muscles—subjecting them to pain, inflammation and an increased risk of injury. Considering all that is required of today's dancers, having a top-notch recovery regime is paramount.

Enter Apolla Performance Wear, which is meeting ballet's physical demands with a line of compression footwear that is speeding up the recovery process for professional dancers by reducing inflammation and stabilizing the joints.

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