Roberto Bolle and Polina Semionova - Black Swan pas de deux (Vladimir Burmeister version)

#TBT: Polina Semionova and Roberto Bolle in “Swan Lake” (2007)

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.


Tall, muscular and striking, both artists have an instant aura of nobility onstage. As Odile, Semionova captivates her prince with alluring, sustained energy in the adagio section of Burmeister's pas de deux, which is more lyrical than the familiar Petipa version and uses different music. (Fun fact: It's actually the original Act III pas de deux music from Swan Lake's 1877 Moscow premiere, now more associated with Balanchine's Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux). At 4:00, at the adagio's climax, Semionova jumps into Bolle's arms and he swings her in a backbend over his shoulder, then seamlessly lowers her into a fish. In their respective variations, Bolle soars in slow motion leaps and silky pirouettes, while Semionova commands the stage with regal, though menacing, port de bras. As the coda begins, the various character dancers are under Von Rothbart's spell, surrounding Odile as she fouettés, adding even more drama and energy to the ballerina's stunning feat. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Latest Posts


Courtesy ABC

Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Alicia Mae Holloway Talks About Her Time on ABC's “The Bachelor”

Bunheads tuning in to the season premiere of ABC's "The Bachelor" on January 4 may have recognized a familiar face: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alicia Mae Holloway, literally bourréeing out of a limousine to greet bachelor Matt James. While Holloway unfortunately didn't get a rose that night, she did thoroughly enjoy being the long-running reality franchise's first professional-ballerina contestant, as she told Pointe in a recent Zoom call.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Carla Fracci and Stephen Jefferies in "La Esmeralda" (1987)

Carla Fracci, a former principal dancer of La Scala Ballet in Milan, is among the rare class of ballerinas who continued to perform into her 50s and beyond. Romantic ballets were her calling card throughout her career. In 1987, when Fracci was 51, she was featured in a television special, dancing reconstructed 19th-century ballets in the style of historical ballerinas. In this clip of La Esmeralda from the program, Fracci and her partner Stephen Jefferies, a former principal at The Royal Ballet, deliver an extraordinary performance, capturing the verve and spirit of their characters.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Make the Most of Performance Opportunities in a Pandemic?

My school is connected to a professional company that operates on a show-to-show basis. Students can audition for company performances when they're 15. My 15th birthday is in February, and I think that our directors are choosing people to participate in virtual performances based off of whether they have performed with the company before. This was supposed to be my big first year with the company, but COVID-19 has changed that. How do I make it known that I want to participate? Do you think I should wait until things are more normal? —Lila
Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks