Bolstered by its eccentric characters, Coppélia has comic flare like no other ballet. In this 2009 rendition staged by Sergei Vikharev, Natalia Osipova, a then 23-year-old Bolshoi Ballet soloist, storms the stage in Swanhilda's variation from Act III. It would be another year before her promotion in 2010, but here Osipova demonstrates all of the ideal qualities of a principal dancer: articulated feet, expressive arms, an emotional parallel with the character that comes from years of experience and, of course, flawless technique.
After being reunited with her beloved Franz, she leaps (quite literally) onstage with confidence. The variation is fashioned with jumps, and though petite, Osipova seems to defy gravity, proving once again why her jumps are famous worldwide. She dives into each step with ease, showing a mesmerizing certainty in her ability (specifically after her soutenous at 1:10, before she begins an endless stream of développés and pirouettes). In the final seconds of the variation, Osipova's delicate upper body captures the lighthearted nature of the ballet so well.
Now a principal with the Royal Ballet, Osipova has shown an interest in contemporary ballet. Just recently, she traded in her tutu to appear in an evening of contemporary work by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and Arthur Pita. Now that she has our attention, we wait in anticipation of her next performance! Happy #ThrowbackThursday!