From the audience’s perspective, dancers can appear to be six feet tall. It’s a beautiful illusion, but most often not the case. Being a tall dancer can be difficult; while long limbs are a blessing, they are often hard to manage. But as this video proves, the gorgeously tall Ulyana Lopatkina, who stands at 5’ 9”, commands impeccable control.
Lopatkina was only two years away from being promoted to principal dancer at the Mariinsky Ballet in this recording from 1993 (and at only 20 years old, there’s no question she was destined for the “prima” title). As you watch this Act II soloist variation from Raymonda, notice how seamlessly she moves through each transition. Sometimes the most demanding work a ballet dancer can perform is slow and controlled, full of traps to stumble and waver off-balance. But Lopatkina accepts the challenge—and succeeds. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!