Darcey Bussell

It’s no surprise that in romantic ballets, love presides over each characters’ motivation. But not every story concludes with a joyous marriage. Marius Petipa’s La Bayadère, set in India, reveals the possible complexities once jealousy and betrayal destroy true love. This clip features Gamzatti’s variation from Act III, right before the gods take vengeance on those who have selfishly obtained romance. Former Royal Ballet principal dancer Darcey Bussell captures Gamzatti's character with calm sincerity, foreshadowing her solemn death.

Elegant Darcey Bussell was one of The Royal Ballet's star ballerinas for two decades, impressing audiences with her beautifully refined technique (and those legs). Here she is breezing through a fiendishly difficult variation from Frederick Ashton's Sylvia. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!