Views

#TBT: Bolshoi Ballet in "Spring Waters" Throughout the Years (1956 and 1986)

Spring may be 10 days away, but we're anxious for its arrival—so we're dedicating this #ThrowbackThursday to the Spring Waters pas de deux. Created by Russian choreographer and former Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Asaf Messerer, this short concert piece sounds sweet and serene in name, but its surprising acrobatics capture spring's energy rather than its mildness.


This first clip is from 60 (!) years ago. In costumes of white and gold, Bolshoi dancers Lyudmila Bogomolova and Stanislav Vlasov burst onto the stage like rays of sunshine. You can see how technical standards have changed in six decades, but this performance is hardly lacking. Bogomolova leaps fearlessly into Vlasov's arms and radiates warmth in the slower partnering sections. Before their exit, he catches her, tosses her into the air and dashes offstage.

In this later clip from 1986, Maria Bylova and Leonid Nikonov's technique is closer to what we are accustomed to. With higher legs come even more death-defying tricks. When Bylova runs to Nikonov from the corner, she takes a flying, head-first dive. At the end, holding Bylova with just one hand, Nikonov carries her effortlessly into the wings. This version seems almost more frenzied than the 1956 one, but none of the four dancers betray any hint of stress in Messerer's challenging partnering. They dance like carefree lovers on a spring day. Do you have a favorite version?


Fun fact: Asaf Messerer is Maya Plisetskaya's uncle. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Summer Intensive Survival
Getty Images

There's a sweet spot toward the end of August—after summer intensives have wrapped up and before it's time to head back to school or work—where the days are long, lazy and begging to be spent neck-deep in a pile of good books. Whether you're looking for inspiration for the upcoming season or trying to brush up on your dance history, you can never go wrong with an excellent book on ballet. We've gathered eight titles (all available at common booksellers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble) guaranteed to give you a deeper understanding of the art form, to add to your end-of-summer reading list.

Keep reading... Show less
Site Network
James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico warm up onstage. Angela Sterling, Courtesy SDC.

On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.

SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Roman Mejia in Robbins' Dances at a Gathering. Erin Baiano, Courtesy NYCB.

The Princess Grace Foundation has just announced its 2019 class, and we're thrilled that two ballet dancers—New York City Ballet's Roman Mejia and BalletX's Stanley Glover—are included among the list of über-talented actors, filmmakers, playwrights, dancers and choreographers.

Keep reading... Show less
Trending
The Royal Ballet's Alexander Campbell and Yasmine Naghdi in Ashton's The Two Pigeons. Tristram Kenton, Courtesy ROH.

While most ballet casts are 100 percent human, it's not unheard of for live animals to appear onstage, providing everything from stage dressing to supporting roles. Michael Messerer's production of Don Quixote features a horse and a donkey; American Ballet Theatre's Giselle calls for two Russian wolfhounds; and Sir Frederick Ashton's La Fille Mal Gardee requires a white Shetland pony. Another Ashton masterpiece, The Two Pigeons, is well known for its animal actors. But though ballet is a highly disciplined, carefully choreographed art form, some performers are naturally more prone to flights of fancy—because they're birds.

Keep reading... Show less