Ballet Stars
Leanne Benjamin and Luke Heydon in "Coppélia," via YouTube.

Dancing with The Royal Ballet from 1992 until 2013, former principal Leanne Benjamin tackled just about every role in the classical gamut, from Juliet to Nikiya to Giselle. As the young and spirited Swanilda in this clip from Coppélia, Benjamin reveals that she has equal talent for the silly as the serious. Her comedic performance in Swanilda's doll dance is this role at its best.

In an effort to trick the scheming Dr. Coppelius and save her beloved Franz, Swanilda pretends she is the doll Coppélia come to life. As she begins to dance, Benjamin is stiff and mechanical one moment and then flopped over like a rag doll the next. Dr. Coppelius, played by character artist Luke Heydon, watches her enthralled and Benjamin's gaze is fixed in a plastic stare. But when the toymaker looks away, Benjamin's Swanilda breaks doll character and frantically tries to figure out an escape. Feebly, Dr. Coppelius tries to keep up with her. Although we feel some sympathy for the delusional old toymaker, we can't help laughing at Swanilda's antics. And that slap at 1:55? Gets us every time. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

News

We've grown accustomed to seeing American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland everywhere: Doing outreach in Rwanda, as a guest editor at Dance Magazine, walking the red carpet at the Met Gala, rehearsing for her multiple roles in ABT's spring season...the list goes on. Now, she's conquered new territory. Meet the Misty Copeland Barbie Doll.

Copeland was involved in the doll's development, in an effort to make sure it reflects a strong ballerina body rather than the absurd proportions of Barbies past. We wonder, though, if Mattel engineered the hips to turn out properly.

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