When a ballet dancer hears Cesare Pugni's familiar score, and sees a dancer holding a tambourine, she knows the imperishable variation from La Esmeralda will follow. One of the most recognizable pieces of choreography, it is often taught and performed to showcase a dancer's strength and technical ability. Esmeralda is one of a handful of ballet heroines to triumph at the end of her story—so pride and power are critical.


Twenty years ago, Yuan Yuan Tan performed this variation for her graduation from the Shanghai Dance School. Even as a teenager, she is able to capture the audience's attention through quiet assurance and confident technique. Her long limbs consume the stage as she captures the true nature of her gypsy character. Yuan Yuan's Esmeralda commands with precision and clarity.

In true “throwback" form, this video features a minor stumble at the end of her manège. But like any trip in a performance, it would make no difference. A year later Yuan Yuan would be recruited as a soloist for San Francisco Ballet, becoming one of the most striking dancers of our time with an unbeatable repertoire. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

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When the news broke that Prince George, currently third in line for the British throne, would be continuing ballet classes as part of his school curriculum this year, we were as excited as anyone. (Okay, maybe more excited.)

This was not, it seems, a sentiment shared by "Good Morning America" host Lara Spencer.

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News
A still from Dancing Dreams. Courtesy OVID

If you're seeking an extra dash of inspiration to start the new season on the right—dare we say—foot, look no further than dance documentaries.

Starting August 23, OVID, a streaming service dedicated to docs and art-house films, is adding eight notable dance documentaries to its library. The best part? There's a free seven-day trial. (After that, subscriptions are $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually.)

From the glamour of Russian ballet stars to young dancers training in Cuba to a portrait of powerhouse couple Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, here's what's coming to a couch near you:

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Just for fun
Via @lizzo on Twitter

On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded with responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.

Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)

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