What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.


Liudmila Kovaleva-Fairy of Generousity (1964) www.youtube.com

In this rosy-hued prologue scene, Kovaleva makes her simple variation poetic, turning the steps into symbols of her character's gifts. She leans into every movement and her plush port de bras overflows with sweetness. Kovaleva's students point to this sense of intention as her secret. "Her rehearsals always inspire me," said Smirnova in a recent interview, "She knows how to grab your interest by making simple steps in a variation come alive, making it nuanced and colorful." Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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Sir Anthony Dowell dedicated four decades for his life to The Royal Ballet, first as a principal dancer, and then as the company's artistic director. His monumental career is a testament to his love for the art form. That love can also be seen in this solo from a 1980 performance of Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen's Four Schumann Pieces, created for the company five years earlier. Van Manen's choreography slips in and out of pedestrian and balletic vocabulary. Dowell demonstrates his virtuosity by ascending into sublime classical shapes without an intimation of effort.

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(From left) Gonzalo Garcia, Sara Mearns, Isabella Boylston, and Calvin Royal III in Ezra Hurwitz's "Mobile Devices," courtesy Ezra Hurwitz

Apple—continuing their sensational streak of genius dance collabs—has done it again, with a sleek promo video for the new iPhone that features the ballet world's best and brightest.

The beautiful short film, titled "Mobile Devices" (we see what they did there!), is directed by former Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz. It follows a day in the life of American Ballet Theatre soloist Calvin Royal III and New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns, and also includes appearances by NYCB principal Gonzalo Garcia and ABT principal Isabella Boylston. "I wanted to showcase the experience of an African American male ballet dancer alongside the more traditionally featured white female ballerina," says Hurwitz, who frequently collaborates with stars of the dance world. "That said, I also wanted to keep it fun and visually driven, and make it a real celebration of these dancers' artistry, athleticism and determination."

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