Profiles

#TBT: Sylvie Guillem and Massimo Murru in “Petite Mort” (2005)

From the outside, classical ballet can seem restrictive with its decorum, elaborate costumes and, of course, uncomfortable pointe shoes. Yet as ballet dancers we know that our technique actually allows our bodies to move with incredible freedom. That physical freedom is never more apparent than in watching dancers like Sylvie Guillem and Massimo Murru, both of whom danced with historic ballet companies, take on contemporary masterpieces like Jiří Kylián's Petite Mort. Stripped down to the barest costumes, their musculature and sheer physicality are unencumbered and demand awe.


Guillem, a former étoile with the Paris Opera Ballet and then an international guest artist, could certainly not be contained to classical repertoire. Alongside Marru, a former La Scala Ballet étoile, her legs bend, swivel, expand and fly. Guillem and Marru's intelligent bodies slip from angular shapes into flowing classical lines. Their movement relies on tension, supporting each others' weight in unexpected shapes. In one moment at 3:30, as Murru clasps Guillem's hand between her legs, she flicks her feet off the floor and suddenly levitates in grand plié. Continuously weaving into each others' negative space, they wrap their legs, arms and bodies around each other, dancing as a single organism. The audience was obviously moved—the applause goes on for two minutes! Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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Are you a total bunhead who loves to write? You might be the perfect fit for Pointe. We're seeking an editorial intern who's equally passionate about ballet and journalism.

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Viral Videos

Yesterday, the first of Nike's new Common Thread video series dropped, and we were thrilled to see that it featured dancers; namely, Dance Theatre of Harlem member (and June/July 2017 Pointe cover star) Ingrid Silva, and Florida-based ballet student Alex Thomas. Even better, it's narrated by tennis phenom Serena Williams. This series of short videos celebrates Black History Month by focusing on representation in sport. (We're not crazy about ballet being called a sport, but we'll let it slide.) In each installment, athletes united by a common thread discuss their passion, and the lack of role models they saw in their fields while growing up.

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News
The Washington Ballet's Sona Kharatian and Dan Roberge in Slaughter on Tenth Avenue. Procopio Photography, Courtesy TWB.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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News
Frances Chung as the title role in Christopher Wheeldon's Cinderella. Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB.

Six-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz has lit such Broadway musical hits as Frozen, Hello Dolly! and A Chorus Line. She is also one of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon's biggest collaborators, designing the lighting for works such as Broadway's An American in Paris, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Cinderella, a 2012 co-production of San Francisco Ballet and Dutch National Ballet. Shortly after SFB opened their 2020 season with Cinderella last month, Pointe caught up with Katz to talk about her career, her collaborative relationship with Wheeldon, and the lighting profiles of co-productions.

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