#TBT: Viviana Durante in Sleeping Beauty

Ah, Aurora—the dream role of budding ballerinas and the milestone of professionals. (It's on the horizon for our June/July cover girl Cassandra Trenary, who makes her New York Aurora debut on June 29). Nearly every prima has performed the role, and Italian dancer Viviana Durante, former principal with The Royal Ballet, is no exception.

With impeccable musicality, Durante seems to pluck the violin's strings with her toes. Atop this precise staccato footwork undulate soft, swirling arms and an expression that asserts true joy. Sure, Durante may be acting Aurora's wedding day bliss, but to me that smile seems triumphant: the look of her self-assurance dancing one of ballet's most challenging yet rewarding roles.

Durante established her international reputation with a worldwide performing career. After leaving The Royal Ballet in 2001, she joined American Ballet Theatre and Tokyo's K-Ballet and guested in Italy, Germany, and beyond. Recently, she's served on the judging panels for English National Ballet's Emerging Dancer Competition and this year's Prix de Lausanne. Happy #TBT!

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