#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


Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Dylan Giles, Courtesy Festival Ballet Providence

Festival Ballet Providence's New Leap Year Program Gives Dancers Facing a Gap Year a Place to Grow

A new training program at Festival Ballet Providence called Leap Year is welcoming pre-professional and professional dancers who don't have a studio or company to dance for this season.

The endeavor is the brainchild of Kathleen Breen Combes, FBP's executive and artistic director. "I kept getting these emails of dancers saying they just need a place to train this year," says Combes. "I thought, What if we could provide a space for dancers to get stronger, experiment and try new things in a nonjudgmental and no-pressure environment?"

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks