Pumpkin carriages and fairy godmothers are noticeably missing in Rudolf Nureyev's production of Cinderella for the Paris Opéra Ballet. Rather than the traditional fairytale kingdom, Nureyev's version takes place in Old Hollywood. As Cinderella, étoile Sylvie Guillem twirls in satin rather than tulle. When POB toured to the United States with this production in 1987, a New York Times reviewer called Guillem “a choreographer's dream" and said that in Cinderella, she is “astounding in every move."
And Nureyev's choreography is jam-packed with intricate moves. In this clip, Cinderella's dance instructor performs various sequences of pirouettes and petit allégro for her to follow, but Guillem barely waits for him to finish before unleashing those fiery feet. She elaborates on each combination with added turns and her usual stunning extensions, and her relevés are as solid as her balances are sustained. Even as she cleanly executes Nureyev's technically challenging choreography, Guillem embodies the luxuriousness of her silken gloves and the flamboyancy of her feather. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!