Ballet Stars

Throughout the year, ballet companies are celebrating what would be Jerome Robbins's 100th birthday. One of America's most prolific and versatile dancemakers, Robbins is often remembered for his choreography for Broadway musicals like West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof. However, his ballets, from Fancy Free to Afternoon of a Faun, are equally iconic. One of his best-loved pieces, among dancers and audiences alike, is Dances at a Gathering, a lyrical ballet inspired by Chopin's piano compositions. The hour-long piece features 10 dancers, all dressed in different colors, who move in and out of solos, duets and group dances; it's a staple in company repertories around the world.

In this clip of Dances at a Gathering from the early '90s, Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles Monique Loudières and Manuel Legris dance an intimate pas de deux for the woman in pink and man in brown. Loudières seems to float right through this dreamy duet, with Legris there to sweep her off her feet. With complete trust in her partner, Loudières falls deep into Legris's arms as he glides her across the stage in arabesque. Simple movements, like Loudières's fluttering bourreés at 1:17, create stunning moments. There is the sense of pure contentment in this pas deux, as though nothing else exists beyond the two dancers and the music. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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The coda in Swan Lake's second act can be brutal for the ballerina dancing Odette. She barely has time to catch her breath after her variation before coming back onstage to carry the act's final dramatic minutes. Paris Opéra Ballet étoile Dorothée Gilbert handles the coda with, dare I say, swanlike elegance in this 2007 clip.

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--American Ballet Theatre dancer Cory Stearns was promoted to soloist at
the beginning of January, three years after becoming a member of ABT’s corps de ballet.

 

--Manuel Legris will direct the Vienna State Opera’s ballet beginning in 2010, upon retiring as an étoile with the Paris Opéra Ballet. In his new position, Legris will work to grow the troupe’s international reputation.

 

--James Canfield was chosen as Nevada Ballet Theatre’s next artistic director after serving as the interim artistic director since March 2008. Canfield will lead the company through its transition to a new home in the $475 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts.

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