Viral Videos
Irek Mukhhamedov and Viviana Durante in "Manon." Image via YouTube.

Sir Kenneth MacMilllan's ballet Manon tells the story of ill-fated lovers Manon and des Grieux, who are torn between worlds of wealth and opulence and the stark misery of poverty. While the characters' circumstances are bleak, their love is the powerful and redeeming force that carries the ballet. In this clip, The Royal Ballet's Viviana Durante and Irek Mukhamedov bring the characters' passion to the forefront. The powerhouse duo, who danced together throughout the 1990s, were renown for their dramatic prowess; their Act III pas de deux in Manon is an exquisite display of raw emotion and refined technique.

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Scottish Ballet principals Constance Devernay and Andrew Peasgood in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Andy Ross, Courtesy Scottish Ballet.

We have some very exciting news here at Pointe. From January 2–15, we will be streaming Scottish Ballet's production of Sir Kenneth MacMillan's The Fairy's Kiss (Le Baiser de la Fée). The free broadcast, filmed live in October at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, will be available on Pointe's Facebook page and our website starting at noon (EST) on January 2.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Ice Maiden," The Fairy's Kiss is a one-act ballet composed by Igor Stravinsky in 1928. (Read the synopsis here.) While several choreographers have tackled the ballet over the years, MacMillan's version is especially rare. Created for The Royal Ballet in 1960, the production's sets and costumes proved so elaborate that it was too difficult to pair with other ballets, and the company shelved it after 33 performances. Although The Fairy's Kiss was briefly revived in 1986, Scottish Ballet is the first company to perform it since, honoring of the 25th anniversary of MacMillan's death.

Mia Thompson in "The Fairy's Kiss." Photo by Andy Ross, Courtesy Scottish Ballet.

The broadcast stars Scottish Ballet principals Constance Devernay, Bethany Kingsley-Garner and Andrew Peasgood, with sets and costumes by Gary Harris. Check out some behind-the-scenes footage below—then call your friends and plan your viewing party!

Ballet Stars

Later this month, six dance companies from around the UK will come together to celebrate Sir Kenneth MacMillan's life and works with performances at Covent Garden. As the program highlight, members of five different troupes will perform in the British choreographer's ballet Elite Syncopations. The fanciful and colorful piece set to Scott Joplin's ragtime tunes reveals MacMillan's lighthearted side and delight in the unconventional. In this video, The Royal Ballet's former principal, Darcey Bussell, shows why Elite Syncopations is a favorite among audiences and dancers alike.

Bussell introduces the ballet, followed by clip of her performing a section called "The Bethena Waltz" (1:40) with Gary Avis. The music in this duet has a smooth, loopy quality that the dancers mimic with continuously circulating movement. As Bussell explains in the intro, subtle moments are key–like when Avis emerges from the "scenery" to grab her hand at the start of the duet, or at 3:35 when the dancers undulate through the upper body to resume dance position. These simple details playfully contrast the over the top costumes and wacky lifts. MacMillan also uses extreme extensions to create humor; at 4:12 the dancers are surprised to find Bussell's foot above her head, and when the dancers exit the stage Bussell is flipped over her partner's head in a full split. Of course, she does it all looking sophisticated and elegant, even in a shiny white jumpsuit with two stars printed on her bum. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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