#TBT: Carla Fracci Dancing the Rose Adagio at Age 51

The Fountain of Youth might be in Italy. Alessandra Ferri may be defying all preconceived notions about the length of ballet careers, but she isn't the first Italian to do so. Carla Fracci, a former prima ballerina at La Scala Ballet and international guest artist, who started her career in the 1950s, didn't stop when convention might have told her to.


This clip, from a 1987 television series called the “The Ballerinas," proves it. At 51 years old, Fracci isn't doing an easy skip of a variation. Here she tackles one of the hardest dances in the classical canon: the Rose Adagio. Aurora's iconic dance with four suitors is a challenge in stamina, a test in technique and definitely a trial in composure, particularly during the promenade balance section. When this sequence repeats at the end, the music crescendoing as high as the expectations, Fracci is unflappable. With rock-solid strength and softness rivaling that plush pink tutu, she finishes with an ebullient smile.

Best known for her Giselle portrayal, Fracci has (we think) retired from the stage and taken on humanitarian work later in life. In 2004, she was named a Goodwill Ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Association, a United Nations agency dedicated to fighting hunger around the world. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Latest Posts


Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks