Ballet Stars

The Royal Ballet principal Marianela Nuñez exudes femininity and strength. It's no surprise, then, that her interpretation of the mythological huntress Sylvia, an independent, cunning young woman, is spot on. In this 2008 clip of the ballet choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, Nuñez commands the stage with her natural presence and effervescent personality.

Performing Sylvia's Act III variation, the Argentinian ballerina captures the pure, English style with expressive epaulement, fluid port de bras, and crystalline clarity in her legs and footwork. Her calm musicality throughout makes Ashton's intricate choreography look easy. The variation begins with a challenging sequence of hops on pointe which Nuñez executes with delicate lightness. Then at 0:50, her snappy petite sissones are buoyant and precise. Perhaps the most beautiful moment in this variation is Nuñez's gorgeous balance at 1:34. She sustains an arabesque with her face lifting upward toward her arms in a high, open fifth position. She has a huge smile and you can sense the joy she feels on stage. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Cirio (center) in Marcelo Gomes' "AfterEffect." Photo by Rosalie O'Connor, Courtesy ABT.

Well, that was fast. After less than a year, Jeffrey Cirio — the former Boston Ballet principal who joined American Ballet Theatre as a soloist at the start of this season—is walking into summer with a promotion to ABT's highest rank. The company now has two Filipino-American principals, the other being Stella Abrera.

We're not surprised. Twenty-five years old and already a consummate artist, Cirio impressed in roles all season, like Colas in La fille mal gardée, one of the King's unlucky sons in The Golden Cockerel and the virtuosic slave Ali in Le Corsaire. Cirio's ambitions extend beyond the Met stage, too. He's the leader of his own touring troupe, Cirio Collective, which has performances scheduled at the Cape Dance Festival and Vineyard Arts Project this summer.

Artistic director Kevin McKenzie also announced corps member Blaine Hoven's promotion to soloist. These two well deserving male dancers are sure to have a spring in their step this holiday weekend!

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