#TBT: Marcia Haydée and Richard Cragun in "Romeo and Juliet" (1973)

Marcia Haydée and Richard Cragun, one of ballet's storied partnerships, danced together from the mid-1960s through the early'90s as leading dancers of Stuttgart Ballet. Their repertory included dozens of ballets, most famously John Cranko's The Taming of the Shrew, Onegin, and, of course, Romeo and Juliet. In this 1973 clip of that ballet's Act III bedroom pas de deux, the characters are torn between love and fear, and Haydée and Cragun portray the star-crossed couple with striking humanity and emotion.

A master of pas de deux choreography, Cranko has the dancers use their whole bodies while partnering. Haydée clings to Cragun's neck and drapes herself over his shoulders, their physical reliance foreshadowing their shared fate. At 3:45, Cragun catches Haydée as she dives into a near split, and at 4:35 Cragun holds Haydée in his arms as she blossoms from a tight crouch into a soaring arabesque. With intuitive connectedness and complete trust in one another, they rise to the physical and emotional demands of this infamous scene.

Beyond their decades of dancing together, the pair continued to have an important impact on the ballet world. Haydée led Stuttgart Ballet as artistic director until 1995 and today directs Chile's Ballet de Santiago, while Cragun taught and staged ballets in Brazil until his passing in 2012. The two also remained lifelong friends. 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