Gelsey Kirkland

Gelsey Kirkland caused quite a stir when she left New York City Ballet in 1974. Then a rising star in Balanchine's company, she joined American Ballet Theatre at Mikhail Baryshnikov's behest, and became one of the Russian star's most frequent partners. Baryshnikov's high-wattage performances never outshone Kirkland, however. With her exquisite control, meticulous attention to detail, and heart-stopping vulnerability, she became a legend in her own right.

I could spend days at a time watching old videos of Gelsey Kirkland. That lyricism! That lightness! She moves the way I dream of dancing in my most fantastical fantasies.