Kitri's Act I variation in Don Quixote is short—but not exactly sweet. Though this clip from a 90s documentary lacks the ballet's usual setting of matadors milling around a Spanish plaza, former American Ballet Theatre principal Susan Jaffe doesn't need scenery to draw her audience in. Kitri's power moves are all about passion, and they require a certain abandon. Jaffe delivers. From the moment she snaps her fingers in her preparation to that crowd-pleasing diagonal of consecutive pirouettes, she's all fire and spice.
Since retiring in 2002, Jaffe has been a major player in the ballet world, choreographing, teaching, judging, serving on boards and receiving awards. She's currently the Dean of Dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and she firmly believes that a ballerina's magic lies in the depth of her artistry, not the height of her extensions. (We 100 percent agree. Though, admittedly, both are nice!) Happy #ThrowbackThursday.