Swan Lake's Black Swan pas de deux has long been an opportunity for dancers to display their virtuosity and test the limits of technique. But in this week's #TBT, daredevil Cuban dancers Lorna Feijóo and José Manuel Carreño bring the duet to a new level. In this clip of the variations and coda performed at the Festival de Ballet de la Habana in 2000, both the dancers and the audience get swept up in the excitement.


Carreño, a former principal with English National Ballet, The Royal Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre, portrays Siegfried as a passionate prince. In his variation, he jumps with glorious hang-time and suspends the ending of every pirouette. Feijóo, who was at the time a prima ballerina with the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and went on to dance as a principal with Boston Ballet, conveys Odile's intensity through her eyes' sharp focus and precise, sustained positions. In the coda, she adds double pirouettes to the infamous 32 fouettés with one arm above her head like a wing, then makes way for Carreño with proud, steely walks. At 5:11 the pair begins an encore—which includes Feijóo hopping backward on pointe in arabesque (finishing in penché, no less)—and the crowd really goes wild. Although the couple struggles with the final fish dive, the audience doesn't mind; Feijóo and Carreño's thrilling risk-taking is more gratifying than perfection, as evidenced by the near full minute of applause after the coda. The fans' contagious energy amp up the drama in the final scene, making Siegfried's bold and tragic declaration of love to Odile all the more heart-wrenching. Happy #TBT!

Viral Videos

In this video ThePointeShop's Josephine Lee may not be giving her usual pointe shoe advice, but she is putting pointe shoes to good use... in the classic wedding shoe game. She plays with newly engaged Ballet West dancers Beckanne Sisk and Chase O'Connell to find out how well the couple knows each other.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars

Noëlla Pontois, the striking, lithe and fiercely technical former étoile of the Paris Opera Ballet, was renown for her interpretation of aristocratic roles in 19th-century ballets. In this 1983 performance from Rudolf Nureyev's production of Raymonda, Pontois is at her most imperious and entrancing in the title role's wedding variation.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos

Have small heels? Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop gives her top tips on finding the best fitting pointe shoes for when your heel tends to slide around.

Keep reading... Show less
Viral Videos
Getty Images

Further showing that whatever mere humans can do, ballerinas can do more gracefully, the Australian Ballet created the most beautiful obstacle course we've ever seen, and then put their dancers to the test. Naturally, when it came to execution, the company members went above and beyond: Why jump over a hurdle when you could pas de chat, or run to the finish when you could chaîné?

Watch the full video (which first premiered on World Ballet Day) below, featuring soloist Nicola Curry and dancers of the Australian Ballet.

Keep reading... Show less