The ballet Don Quixote offers its principal ballerina the unique chance to play two different characters in one role: there's Kitri herself, a vivacious village girl, and then Dulcinea, Don Quixote's idealized love, who takes on the form of Kitri in his dream. The Paris Opéra Ballet's Aurélie Dupont, a former étoile and now the company's artistic director, creates distinct personas for each incarnation of her character. In this clip from a 2002 performance, Dupont dances Dulcinea's variation with serene precision, embodying the mystical beauty of Don Quixote's imagination.


Aurelie Dupont - Dulcinea www.youtube.com

Dupont shifts deftly from poses in croisé to effacé in the opening sequence of the variation, her upper body moving with regal fluidity and betraying none of the concentration required to control the legs. She maintains a detached air throughout the next pass of ronds de jambes en l'air en pointe, which she rounds out with a sigh-worthy suspended développé. With exacting positions and arabesques that materialize at 90 degree angles, Dupont creates a character that could only be an illusion, a symbol of perfection, and a foil to the human Kitri's exuberance and charisma. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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