#TBT: Maria Alexandrova in "The Pharaoh’s Daughter" (2007)

Sandstorms, opium, lions, snakes—plot devices in The Pharaoh's Daughter read like a list of clichés about Ancient Egypt. Though 19th century ballets set in the Far East (ahem, Bayadère) tend to emphasize grandeur over cultural accuracy, the dancing is dependably show-stopping. In this clip, Bolshoi Ballet principal Maria Alexandrova performs Princess Aspicia's Act II solo from Pierre Lacotte's 2000 version (after Petipa's 1862 original). With no visible effort—or springs attached, that I can see—she jumps with stunning ballon in the first sissonnes. When the music changes meter, she développés crisply and then enveloppés slowly for a playful contrast. Lacotte choreographed some devilish transitions in and out of pirouettes but, as the 30 seconds of solid applause confirm, Alexandrova retains her regal poise throughout.


Alexandrova was grappling with a serious injury in the midst of the Bolshoi's acid attack scandal in 2013. Though typically media-shy, she decided to open up in the HBO documentary Bolshoi Babylon and in a rare interview with The New York Times. As a revered artist—a principal with the Bolshoi for over a decade—when Alexandrova speaks, the world listens.

Latest Posts


Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

NYCB's Maria Kowroski Reflects on the Challenges, Joys and Mysteries of Balanchine’s "Mozartiana"

The first time I was called to learn Mozartiana, I didn't think I would actually get to do it. It's a coveted ballerina role in the company, and I was still early in my career. But I got to dance it once or twice, and then not again for many years. The ballet isn't in our repertoire that often, so each time we've performed it I've been at a different level as a person and as an artist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Overcome My Fear of Pirouettes on Pointe?

I have a terrible fear of falling when doing turns on pointe. I sometimes cry in class when we have to do new turns that I'm not used to. I can only do bad singles on a good day, while some of my classmates are doing doubles and triples. How can I get over this fear? —Gaby

Keep reading SHOW LESS
xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks