Argentinian ballerina Paloma Herrera, who is now the artistic director of Ballet Estable del Teatro Colón in her home country, joined American Ballet Theatre at just 16 years old and was promoted to principal at 19. Over the course of her 24-year career with ABT, she became known for her maturity and range as an artist. Still, ingenue roles remained one of her hallmarks due to her ability to portray youth with honesty. She even danced Giselle for her ABT retirement performance. In this clip highlighting the first act variation in Giselle, she conveys the character's innocence with unaffected sincerity.
Herrera's pristine, almost geometric sense of line imbues her dancing with an aesthetic purity. After pas de bourrée, she lowers her heels placidly with straight legs into a perfect fifth position. In the infamous hops sequence, Herrera lets the step speak for itself, adding little embellishment with the upper body. One of the most beautiful moments in this clip is the very last: after a wide, brisk manège of piqué turns, Herrera suspends the very last rotation, giving the audience a sense of slow motion in real time. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!