Ballet Stars

#TBT: Nina Ananiashvili, Darci Kistler, Rose Gad and Tatiana Terekhova in “Pas de Quatre” (1993)

Kistler, Ananiashvili, Gad and Terekhova in "Pas de Quatre," via YouTube

When Jules Perrot's Pas de Quatre premiered in London in 1845, it was an unprecedented event in the ballet world. Created for four of the greatest ballerinas of the day—Marie Taglioni, Carlotta Grisi, Lucile Grahn and Fanny Cerrito—the ballet was essentially the original "international gala of the stars."

Nearly 150 years later, in a gala starring Georgian ballerina Nina Ananiashvili in 1993, Ananiashvili, Darci Kistler, Rose Gad and Tatiana Terekhova (principals at the Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, and Mariinsky Ballet, respectively) came together, much in the spirit of the original cast, to perform Sir Anton Dolin's reconstructed version of Pas de Quatre. While the ballerinas all have different backgrounds, and each has her own unique style, they share the stage equally, not as a corps, but as four distinct soloists moving in harmony.


The opening section of the ballet is full of unexpected symmetries, such as the iconic first tableau; each ballerina has an individual movement, yet the picture onstage maintains balance. When the dancers finally do move in perfect unison near the end of the opening, taking small bourrées forward in a straight line as their arms and gaze rise, the effect is thrilling. Ananiashvili, Kistler, Gad and Terekhova convey the Romantic style with soft port de bras, demure reverences to one another, and wafting bourrées, but they do not let the piece become an old-fashioned novelty. They bring freshness and clarity to the ballet, making it more than a mere relic, but a living artifact of ballet history. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

News
Erin Baiano, Courtesy Vail Dance Festival

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Training
From left: Duncan McIlwaine and Joseph Markey rehearse a new work by Gemma Bond. Rachel Papo.

The members of ABT Studio Company straddle two worlds: student and professional. On a March afternoon, as the dancers rehearse for a work choreographed by ABT dancer Gemma Bond, they appear more the former: Clean academic leotards and tights reveal coltish legs. But as soon as they launch into the piece (which later had its New York City debut at The Joyce Theater), it's evident how close these dancers are to a professional rank. Their movements and expressiveness grow bolder with each entrance. Soon they're sliding to the ground in floorwork and swirling confidently in daring lifts. "This group is particularly brilliant to work with," says Bond. "Each dancer seems to have something interesting in the way that they move, which made the creation process a little more of a collaboration than some of my other works."

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Training
Karin Ellis-Wentz and Joffrey Ballet Academy of Dance student Elliana Teuscher. Courtesy The Joffrey Ballet.

"Hopping on pointe is a bit of a weird feeling," says Karin Ellis-Wentz, head of pre-professional programs at the Joffrey Academy of Dance in Chicago. But, she adds, it's a skill advanced dancers need "because it's in so many variations." Here, she takes us through the techniques and exercises that help her students master this necessary trick.

Keep reading... Show less
The Royal Ballet's Vadim Muntagirov and Marianela Nuñez in La Bayadère. Photo by Bill Cooper, Courtesy ROH.

Do you ever wish you could teleport to London and casually stroll into The Royal Opera House to see some of the world's best-loved ballets? Well, we have a solution for you: The Royal Ballet's 2018-19 cinema season.

Whether live or recorded, the seven ballet programs listed below, streaming now through next October, will deliver all of the magic that The Royal Ballet has to offer straight to your local movie theater. Can you smell the popcorn already?

Keep reading... Show less