Last week, The Royal Ballet's Zenaida Yanowsky took her final bow at Covent Garden—a stage she called home for 23 years. Beloved by Britain's loyal ballet fans, she captivated audiences throughout her 16 years as a principal dancer. At 5' 9" Yanowsky is regal and striking, breaking the mold of the more traditional, diminutive English ballerina.


One of Yanowsky's signature roles with The Royal was Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. She even had the honor of performing the Black Swan pas de deux in the Buckingham Palace ballroom, as part of Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee in 2002. In this video, the performance begins at 0:50 after a short commentary and is accompanied by a live orchestra. Alongside a fresh-faced Roberto Bolle, Yanowsky's dancing is crisp and precise, yet light and airy. Her effortless port de bras and quick focus make her intensely birdlike. At 7:48, during Odile's variation, her renversés à la seconde seem to soar on endlessly. We're so glad we can keep watching this breathtaking ballerina's performances on video, even though she has retired from the Covent Garden stage. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

Viral Videos

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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Viral Videos

Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop chats with Ballet West soloist Chelsea Keefer to hear about how she prepares her pointe shoes. Keefer offers lots of darning tips, and shares all of the unusual ways that she uses rosin.

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At this point, you'd think we'd all be used to the level of technical absurdity Daniil Simkin achieves when he's playing around in the studio. But then he did this:

...and now we're low-key appalled in the absolute best way.

After we picked our jaws up from the floor, we were inspired to dig up clips of some of our other favorite dancers turning like it's no big deal. Here are just a few standouts.

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