Polina Semionova, principal guest artist with the Staatsballett Berlin, is serene and luminous. Mariinsky Ballet principal Vladimir Shklyarov is stylish and refined. Together, unsurprisingly, they make a sublime partnership, as seen here in their wistful and technically brilliant 2008 performance of Giselle's Act II pas de deux at the Mariinsky Theater.
As a newly incarnated wili, Semionova, then making a guest appearance with the Mariinsky, steps to center stage with impossibly soft footsteps. She conveys ghostly weightlessness in the way her long arms seem to drift behind her movement. Shklyarov, a first soloist with the company at the time, partners her with care, making each landing pillowy soft. In the allégro section, Semionova bends her upper body generously as she jumps, while Shklyarov really shines with dynamic extension in his sissonnes and cabrioles. One of the loveliest moments in the pas deux is at 5:47—as Shklyarov pirouettes, Seminova balances on pointe in perfect suspended stillness. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!