Sir Frederick Ashton first choreographed the Voices of Spring pas de deux on Royal Ballet stars Merle Park and Wayne Eagling in 1977 for a ball scene in Johann Strauss II's operetta Die Fledermaus. The lively duet is a favorite in galas and mixed bills these days, but Park and Eagling's version from this 1983 video is a spectacular, must-see combination of cheek and elegance.


From the moment the couple enters, with Eagling carrying Park over his head as she spills flower petals across the floor, their joy is uncontained. They feed off each other, the audience and the ball guests sitting on stage. The two somehow make the unexpected direction changes look breezy and playful. Famous for her animation on stage, Park is effervescent as Eagling whips her through endless turns and tosses her into the air. The challenging lifts, like supported grand jetés, one handed presses and torch lifts, are an impressive display of the dancers' skill and the choreographer's creativity. Eagling even partners while balancing in arabesque and attitude! Our favorite moment: Eagling's brilliant batterie at 1:40, followed by a wild pirouette where he throws his head back in abandon. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

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At this point, you'd think we'd all be used to the level of technical absurdity Daniil Simkin achieves when he's playing around in the studio. But then he did this:

...and now we're low-key appalled in the absolute best way.

After we picked our jaws up from the floor, we were inspired to dig up clips of some of our other favorite dancers turning like it's no big deal. Here are just a few standouts.

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Natalia Makarova's version of Swan Lake, staged in the 1980s for London Festival Ballet (now the English National Ballet), incorporates a pas de quatre choreographed by Sir Fredrick Ashton into the ballet's opening act. Leanne Benjamin, then just 24 and a principal with the company, dances among the couples in this clip from a 1988 film of the ballet. The burgeoning ballerina shines in her minute-long solo, tackling intricate footwork with intelligence and spirit that foreshadow her formidable, two-decade career as a principal of The Royal Ballet.

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