Last week American Ballet Theatre principal Gillian Murphy danced the iconic dual role of Odette/Odile as part of the company's spring season. In preparation for the performance she posted an adorable photo from her childhood on Instagram of her posing in costume as the Black Swan. Murphy also admits that as a young dancer she was determined to master the 32 fouettés, which Odile performs at the climax of the Black Swan pas de deux. Her performance in this clip from a 2005 performance, alongside former ABT principal Angel Corella as Siegfried, makes it obvious as to why this childhood dream role is now one of her signatures.


When the dancers enter at 1:00, Murphy already has a fierceness about her that makes it hard to believe she's the same soft-spoken ballerina in the video's opening interview. Corella's Siegfried is completely beguiled by the temptress. Murphy approaches the choreography with fearless physicality, plunging into penchés and hitting each arabesque with staccato precision. Her flexible arms trail behind her like wings. Corella is exuberant in his variation, while Murphy is devilishly cool. Both these turning whizzes seem to conjure their momentum from within themselves. In the coda, which begins at 10:15, the couple increases their intensity; Corella leaps higher than ball guests' heads and Murphy adds thrilling, incredibly musical triples to her fouettés.

In 2017 Murphy told Pointe that while the "technical elements of Odile" feel natural to her, the manipulative character is, of course, nothing like her real personality. To portray Odile she abandons herself and let's the character take on a life of her own through Tchaikovsky's music. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!
Instagram

Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

Keep reading...
Sponsored by Ellison Ballet
Rachel Neville, Courtesy Ellison Ballet

If you've got your heart set on dancing for, say, San Francisco Ballet, you should attend a school that specializes in Balanchine, right? Not necessarily: It's actually a misconception that you have to train in a particular style or technique in order to pursue a career in that style. Ellison Ballet in New York City—which specializes in Vaganova technique—is living proof: Graduates of Ellison's year-round program and summer intensives go on to ballet companies that perform in a wide range of styles, and use what they've learned from Vaganova to land jobs.

Here are five reasons why studying Vaganova technique can actually make you a sought-after dancer for any number of ballet companies:

Keep reading...
Ballet Stars
Morgan in rehearsal for Firebird. "When something is taken away from you, you appreciate it 10 times more once you have it back, she says. Lilly Echeverria.

A couple years ago, if you had told Kathryn Morgan that she'd be a soloist at Miami City Ballet, learning roles like the Firebird, Mercedes in Don Quixote and the Striptease Girl in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue, she would have said you were crazy. But last April, seven years after she was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and left her career at New York City Ballet behind, Morgan signed a professional company contract once again.

Keep reading...
News
National Ballet of Canada principal Heather Ogden in The Sleeping Beauty, which tours to the Kennedy Center this week. Bruce Zinger, Courtesy the Kennedy Center.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading...