Ballet Stars

A little over a month ago Roberto Bolle gave his final bow with American Ballet Theatre, though thankfully he's not saying goodbye to ballet altogether. After 10 years dancing as a principal with ABT while guesting around the world and at his home company La Scala Ballet, he's now planning to focus on his own galas and projects in Italy. A frequent face in those galas is Polina Semionova, a principal guest with Staatsballett Berlin (and also a former principal with ABT). Semionova and Bolle have danced together for years, and while Bolle is renown for his partnerships with many ballerinas, the two make an exceptionally elegant duo. Here they dance Vladimir Burmeister's Black Swan Pas de Deux at the 2007 Tchaikovsky Gala in Milan.

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Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB

We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.

Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.

We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.

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News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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Ballet Stars
Cesar Corrales photographed by Nathan Sayers for Pointe.

This is Pointe's October/November 2017 Cover Story. You can subscribe to the magazine here, or click here to purchase this issue.

At just 20 years old, Cesar Corrales has skyrocketed to principal at English National Ballet.

English National Ballet was midway through a precise but polite performance of William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated last spring when Cesar Corrales burst into view. The 20-year-old principal turned his solo, a minor one in Forsythe's ballet, into a blaze of technical power and audacious phrasing. The tension at London's Sadler's Wells ratcheted up several notches, and his colleagues joined in his contagious energy.

It wasn't the first time Corrales had raised the stakes on stage. In three short seasons with English National Ballet, he has gone from promising virtuoso to one of the British companies' most vital members. Even among the outstanding crop of men hired by artistic director and principal dancer Tamara Rojo, Corrales' feline technique and generous presence have stood out in ballets including Le Corsaire and Akram Khan's Giselle.


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Ballet Stars

La Scala Ballet étoile and American Ballet Theatre principal Roberto Bolle has been everywhere this summer, performing with companies all over the world as well as touring with his own troupe, Bolle and Friends. Still, we can't get enough of this dreamy danseur. This clip of his Solor variation from a 2006 performance of La Bayadère reminds us why Bolle has been one of the most in demand dancers for over two decades.



As Solor, the tall and insanely muscular Bolle looks like he could actually be a warrior just back from a tiger hunt. He brings a regal, slightly arrogant persona to the role, which he pulls off thanks to his exacting technical control and noble stage presence. During every saut de chat and cabriole he suspends himself in the air for a moment, without a hint of effort. If only this variation were longer, because we could watch his soaring jeté en manège all day long. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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Zenaida Yanowsky and Roberto Bolle in Sir Frederick Ashton's "Marguerite and Armand." Photography by Tristram Kento, Courtesy ROH.

If you, like many of us here at Pointe, wish you could have seen Royal Ballet star Zenaida Yanowsky's retirement performance on June 7, you're in luck. The Royal will screen a recording of it in select movie theaters across the U.S. starting Sunday, June 25. (In many cities, it will be screened on Tuesday, July 11.) The program includes three works by the company's founding choreographer, Sir Frederick Ashton: The Dream, Symphonic Variations and Marguerite and Armand—the latter of which stars Yanowsky and Roberto Bolle. You can also catch other Royal favorites like Marianela Nuñez, Vadim Muntagirov, Steven McRae, Akane Takada and Yasmin Naghdi. Make sure to bring tissues!

To find dates, times and theaters near you, click here.


Viral Videos

Last week, The Royal Ballet's Zenaida Yanowsky took her final bow at Covent Garden—a stage she called home for 23 years. Beloved by Britain's loyal ballet fans, she captivated audiences throughout her 16 years as a principal dancer. At 5' 9" Yanowsky is regal and striking, breaking the mold of the more traditional, diminutive English ballerina.

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Swan Lake's Black Swan pas de deux may be a chance for stars' technique to shine, but it's the acting—Odile's wicked seduction of the blindly loving Siegfried—that gives me chills. In this clip from a 2004 recording of La Scala Ballet, Svetlana Zakharova finds fresh moments in Vladimir Bourmeister's 1953 choreography to bewitch Roberto Bolle—and her audience. She undulates her arms and unfurls her legs delicately, mimicking Odette's graceful wings, then entices him by crisply rebuffing her prince's offered attentions. Did you shiver when she flicked her wrists and widened her eyes piercingly in her variation preparation? Bolle, meanwhile, dances with incredible fluidity. His open, easy carriage reveals both the dancer's seasoned strength and his character's vulnerability.

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Roberto Bolle: An Athlete in Tights

High-profile photographer Bruce Weber turns his camera on ballet stud Roberto Bolle in this new book of images. The collection showcases the Italian-born dancer’s stunning facility and captivating presence. Bolle, who has performed with The Royal Ballet, La Scala Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet, returns to American Ballet Theatre this season as a principal. —Kristin Lewis

The Sugarless Plum: A Ballerina’s Triumph Over Diabetes

 
Former NYCB dancer Zippora Karz tells her inspirational story—and gives us an interesting peek at the City Ballet of the ’80s and ’90s.

Roberto Bolle’s no longer just a superstar dancer. (Or a jaw-dropping model, for that matter.) This fall, he'll try out his hand as artistic director, leading a special one-night event, Roberto Bolle and Friends Gala. The program, to be held at New York City Center on September 17, is part of the celebration 2013–The Year in Italian Culture, and will feature performances from Dresden Semperoper’s Jiří Bubeníček and Stuttgart’s Alicia Amatriain and Jason Reilly—as well as Bolle, of course. The Italian ballet icon answered a few of Pointe's questions about this latest twist in his career.

 

What inspired this program?

Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented international dancers from the best companies. Naturally, I wanted to bring such great energy together in a single show. They are my colleagues onstage as well as my friends in real life.


What does it mean to you to be an Italian dancer who's become an international star?

It’s a honor and a privilege, but also a responsibility. Italy is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, rich with the most extraordinary cultural and artistic tradition. So, you know, it’s not easy to be good enough, to excel. I try my best, every day. Ballet is not just a job, but my whole life and I do it with love, passion and fun! 

Is there anything that you’d say is particularly “Italian” about your artistry? 

I was deeply influenced by Italian art and by the Italian ballet school—I studied and had my debut at La Scala Theatre in Milan. Without a doubt, the atmosphere of the Italian cities where I spent most of my life played a very strong role in my artistic “education.” Italians have a strong love for the beautiful in any form, from fine arts to architecture, from fashion to design and films. I make no exception at all!


What’s been the highlight of your career? 

Dancing in Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee. It was, I think, the most unreal experience I’ve had.

What advice would you offer students who dream of a career like yours?
Pursue your dream, know your limits, push them as much as you reasonably can, work harder than hard. Live your passion—dance is not a job. 

 

 

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(Still from Ferri's dance film, Passage)

Roberto Bolle's gala "Roberto Bolle and Friends" had its annual performance today, in Verona, Italy. The performance featured an outstanding cast of dancers, including American Ballet Theatre's Hee Seo, Cory Stearns, Daniil Simkin and Julie Kent, Boston Ballet principal Eris Nezha, Stuttgart Ballet principals Alicia Amatriain and Jason Reilly, and ABT corps member, Skylar Brandt.

A highlight of the evening included a performance of Fabrizio Ferri's short dance film Passage, re-staged for a live audience. The pas de deux features Bolle, and ABT Principal and Mikhailovsky Ballet guest artist Polina Seminova.

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