#TBT: Isabelle Guérin and Nicolas Le Riche in Notre Dame de Paris

I can't decide what's more impressive in this 1996 clip of Roland Petit's Notre Dame de Paris. Is it the Frenchman's choreography, which evokes the complex relationship between the gypsy-turned-damsel and her unlikely hero? Or is it the two former Paris Opéra Ballet étoiles' interpretations of the characters? Nicolas Le Riche plays a convincing hunchback Quasimodo, maintaining the role's difficult physical demands while flawlessly executing the partnering. But, honestly, it's hard for me to take my eyes off of Isabelle Guérin as Esmeralda. In the pas de deux's playful moments, she's the strong, sensual gypsy, evoked by her pristine yet free dancing. In the slow, controlled partnering moments, however, she exhibits Esmeralda's vulnerability at the hands of both her rescuer and captor.


Both Guérin and Le Riche joined POB after training in the company's school. They enjoyed a steady rise to étoile before retiring, she in 2001 and he in 2014. While Le Riche has dabbled in dance-making himself, Guérin has focused on private coaching. She serves on the advisory board of En Avant, a foundation dedicated to nurturing the next generation of dancers—which I'd say is in good hands. 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

#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
Bethany Kirby, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet

An Infectious-Disease Physician on What Vaccines Mean for Ballet

As the coronavirus pandemic grinds into its second year, the toll on ballet companies—and dancers—has been steep. How long before dancers can rehearse and perform as they once did?

Like most things, the return to normal for ballet seems to hinge on vaccinations. Just over 22 percent of people in the U.S. are now vaccinated, a way from the estimated 70 to 85 percent experts believe can bring back something similar to pre-pandemic life.

But what would it mean for 100 percent of a ballet company to be vaccinated? Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini is about to find out—and hopes it brings the return of big ballets on the big stage.

"I don't think companies like ours can survive doing work for eight dancers in masks," Angelini says. "If we want to work, dance, and be in front of an audience consistently and with the large works that pay the bills, immunization is the only road that leads there."

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks