The Bolshoi Ballet's Ekaterina Shipulina was promoted to principal rank in late 2011, after over 13 years of dancing with the company. Yet from the earliest days of her career, her performances revealed the makings of a leading ballerina. In this 2003 clip of Henriette's second act variation in Raymonda, Shipulina fills the massive Bolshoi stage with her lightness.
Shipulina's performance is calm and refined, yet her bold level changes and expansive upper body make her dancing uniquely expressive. In the first sequence, her arms brush low as she pliés in degagé and then slowly unfurl as she boureés in sous-sus. Shipulina is the most sublime on her toes: her nimble boureés move swiftly across the stage, her changements en pointe are delicate as pinpricks, and her lush épaulement in pas de couru en arrière reveals the lovely line of her back. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!