An integral portion of Le Corsaire’s first act is the Odalisque pas de trois—a dance by three slave girls whom the audience knows little about. Choreographed to a grandiose score, the Odalisque variations act as an interlude in the ballet's larger plot. Their precise and petite steps cater to the meekness and femininity of the role. This recording from 1999 showcases Gillian Murphy taking this character to a new level as a recently promoted soloist for the American Ballet Theatre. From her four-count introduction and that first glissade, Murphy is anything but a submissive slave girl. She counters this idea with powerful movement worthy of attention—and it’s impossible to take your eyes off of her.
An international icon, Gillian Murphy has performed around the world as one of the most famous ballerinas of our time. We have all grown up watching her attain the ideal career through her brilliant artistry. As a turner, jumper and overall technician, she is the archetypal principal dancer, and has performed nearly every lead role within ABT’s expansive repertoire. This #TBT foreshadows her future stardom as she performs the third Odalisque variation. Those successive triple turns will keep you at the edge of your seat, but her flawless control preceding each step keeps the audience at ease.