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!

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