La Fille Mal Gardée, or in English "The Wayward Daughter," is one of the oldest story ballets still in modern repertoire. The tale's enduring magic lies in themes of youth, following your heart and true love, along with playful bits of entertainment, like the clog dance and ribbon pas de deux. As Lise, Russian-born ballerina Valentina Kozlova captures the character's spirited innocence. Dancing alongside her as her beloved Colas is Chris Jensen, star of Switzerland's Basel Ballet. This clip of their ribbon pas de deux from Basel Ballet's 1986 film is as lighthearted and charming as it is technically brilliant.
Kozlova makes a dazzling peasant girl in a sunny yellow dress that matches her golden hair. Her supple, arched feet and gracious port de bras accentuate her beautiful lines. Jensen sweeps and swirls her all across the stage. True to their characters, the couple dances together with the ease and abandon of young love-birds, like at 1:19 when Kozlova bounds into Jensen's arms as he dips and swings her around in a cradle lift. As they frolic with their ribbon, tossing and catching it mid-leap, they keep perfect synchronization. Their lively jumps and flitting pirouettes give us the urge to join in their merriment. We're almost as miffed as they are when Lise's mother, the Widow Simone, arrives to shoo Colas away and make Lise return to her chores! Happy #TBT!