When I first saw this clip of Leonid Lavrovsky's Walpurgis Night, I didn't know what the ballet was about, nor did I care. I was completely transfixed by Maya Plisetskaya. From one-legged hops on pointe to a grand saut de chat, she springs off the ground effortlessly. But it's the Bolshoi ballerina's ecstatic abandon in the movement that I had to watch again and again (six times, in fact). From the way Plisetskaya eagerly devours space and throws her head back—her delight obvious even in the vintage footage—you know how complete her love of dancing is. The joy is infectious.


Walpurgis Night is commonly confused with Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht Ballet. Lavrovsky's version is based off of Faust, a fanciful 19th century opera about an alchemist and his pact with a satanic demon. In a 1993 review of Balanchine's Walpurigsnacht (a simpler, shorter work stripped of the opera's plot), The New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff recalls that Plisetskaya's performance in Lavrovksy's original once “drove New York audiences into a frenzy." I can see why. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Ballet Stars
Skylar Brandt and Josephine Lee. Screenshot Courtesy Lee.

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with American Ballet Theatre soloist Skylar Brandt to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. We think Brandt might win an award for how long she makes her shoes last; watch the below video for the staggering number of days (or weeks!), and to hear about all of her unique customizations and pro tips.

Ballet Stars

English National Ballet star Alina Cojocaru was still a Royal Ballet principal in 2006 when she guest-starred in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty. And as this clip of her Aurora proves, she is indeed a vision in Act II's dream scene. Dancing alongside Andrian Fadeyev and Daria Pavlenko as Prince Désiré and the Lilac Fairy, the Romanian ballerina has an air of otherworldly majesty.

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Ballet Stars

A little over a month ago Roberto Bolle gave his final bow with American Ballet Theatre, though thankfully he's not saying goodbye to ballet altogether. After 10 years dancing as a principal with ABT while guesting around the world and at his home company La Scala Ballet, he's now planning to focus on his own galas and projects in Italy. A frequent face in those galas is Polina Semionova, a principal guest with Staatsballett Berlin (and also a former principal with ABT). Semionova and Bolle have danced together for years, and while Bolle is renown for his partnerships with many ballerinas, the two make an exceptionally elegant duo. Here they dance Vladimir Burmeister's Black Swan Pas de Deux at the 2007 Tchaikovsky Gala in Milan.

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