#TBT: Rudolf Nureyev and Alla Sizova’s Corsaire Graduation Performance

Can you imagine completing your spring showcase performance and being handed a soloist contract by your dream company? That is precisely what happened to Rudolf Nureyev and Alla Sizova in 1958, and this clip is from that very performance. The opening section of Le Corsaire's famous pas de deux displays Sizova's beautiful lines and Nureyev's attentive partnering. Things really heat up, however, in the variations. Nureyev falters a little landing the first jump, but the raw power and energy he became famous for doesn't. Sizova swapped the usual choreography for the Queen of Dryads variation from Don Quixote—and she completely defies gravity. Those leaps! (She eventually earned the nickname “Flying Sizova.") Even during the horrifically difficult Italian fouettés into double en dedans pirouettes, her expression remains radiant.


After the performance, Sizova walked away with a soloist contract with the Kirov Ballet (now known as the Mariinsky) where she soon became a principal. Nureyev received offers from both the Kirov and the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow. He settled on St. Petersburg, and the pair frequently partnered together before Nureyev defected in 1961. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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