Sarah Lane's loyal fans had been petitioning for her promotion to principal for years when the American Ballet Theatre soloist premiered as Giselle in New York City this summer. But even the most eager among them could not have predicted that this would be the role to define her season and land her the coveted promotion.

Photo by Erin Baiano, Courtesy ABT.

Lane's calling card is pure classicism, meticulously controlling each aspect of her performance with precision and care. But her approach to Giselle was different—with her exuberant entrance she seemed to shed every ounce of self-consciousness that sometimes imbues her performances. That doesn't mean she didn't tackle the role with the gravitas it begs, though. She colored each detail with nuance that felt both spontaneous and essential to Giselle's transformation. She was reckless when it counted—but measured enough to make the most important moments clear. It felt as if even she knew she was dancing through a turning point in her career.

Other Articles