Throughout the last quarter of the 20th century Cynthia Harvey was a force in the ballet world. She had the unique distinction of dancing as a principal ballerina on both sides of the Atlantic, with American Ballet Theatre and then at The Royal Ballet, where she was the first American dancer ever to hold that position. A dynamo with impeccable style, her polished technique was matched only by her power. In this 1984 performance of a variation from Paquita, she bursts from the wing with a tidal wave of energy that carries her throughout the entire solo.


In an exhilarating entrance, Harvey saut de chats across the stage, just grazing the floor between each soaring split. She follows this opening pass with a series of pirouettes in attitude and arabesque, looking like the quintessential jewelry box ballerina (only spinning at triple the speed.) After a confident flick of her foot in a rond de jambe, she flies to the corner to finish the variation with a sequence of piqué turns and jetés. She whizzes around in the first double piqué and then slowly suspends the second, demonstrating her phenomenal control. These days, Harvey is still a star, but at the front of the studio rather than on the stage. She guest teaches around the world and serves as the artistic director of ABT's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, as well as the ballet coaching organization, En Avant Foundation. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!


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