#TBT Yuan Yuan Tan and Desmond Richardson in Othello

Proceed with caution: This emotionally charged death scene is balletic but brutal. San Francisco Ballet principal Yuan Yuan Tan and former American Ballet Theatre principal Desmond Richardson perform in this excerpt of Lar Lubovitch’s Othello. The ballet, based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name, was jointly produced by SFB and ABT in 1997, and the companies’ respective stars are brilliantly paired. As Othello, Richardson emanates chilling menace as he stalks around Desdemona. Tan aptly blends Desdemona’s palpable fear of her husband with complete devotion to him. She yields her limbs to his manipulation and lies prone and submissive while he pulls out the handkerchief with which he’ll murder her. Though innocent of the adultery she’s accused of, Desdemona helps him wrap the silk around her neck, reaching desperately for Othello as he strangles her to death.

 

These dancers have taken vastly different career paths over the past two decades, but neither has lost momentum. Richardson, between stints on Broadway and dancing in films, continues to break boundaries as the co-director (with Dwight Rhoden) of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Tan is lauded in both her adopted and home countries as a sublime ballerina. She is currently on tour with SFB in China (following a successful tour there in 2009)—a homecoming and a celebration of her 20 years with the company. Happy #TBT!

For more news on all things ballet, don't miss a single issue.

Latest Posts


Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Courtesy Merritt Moore

How Quantum Physicist Ballerina Merritt Moore Learned to Dance With a Robot (Plus, Her Newest Film)

When the world went into lockdown last March, most dancers despaired. But not Merritt Moore. The Los Angeles native, who lives in London and has danced with Norwegian National Ballet, English National Ballet and Boston Ballet, holds a PhD in atomic and laser physics from the University of Oxford. A few weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, she came up with a solution for having to train and work alone: robots.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Lauren Anderson's Tips for Relevé Développé Écarté Devant

Développé écarté relevé "is in every class, every ballet," says Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer and current program manager of education and community engagement at Houston Ballet. Below, she gives you the keys to success for this "light and lovely" repertoire staple.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Andrey Chuntomov, Courtesy Arabesque-2020

Inside Arabesque-2020, One of Russia’s Top Ballet Competitions

Much like everything else this year, the XVI Russian Open Ballet Competition Arabesque-2020 was unlike any in its three-decade history. Rescheduled and shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic—and on the brink of cancellation until the very last moment—the competition nevertheless took place October 24 to November 2 at the historic Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks