Ivan Vasiliev

It seems like only a few days ago that Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev swept onto the international dance scene, bewitching audiences with their feats of daredeviltry. Yet it was back in 2006 that the pair made their breakout debuts as Kitri and Basilio in Don Quixote at the Bolshoi. They were babies, too: Osipova was 20 and Vasiliev, just 18. Here are a few exhilarating excerpts from that first performance. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

We have to hand it to the Russians. Olympic opening ceremonies are always brilliant spectacles, but rarely do they involve appearances by world-class ballet dancers.

Last Friday night, the Sochi opening ceremony offered a smorgasbord of rich, theatrical images, many of them created by Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark choreographer Daniel Ezralow. But the highlights for us bunheads were appearances by Russian ballet sensations Svetlana Zakharova, Ivan Vasiliev and Diana Vishneva.

Forget his ridiculous leaps and irresistible stage presence—Ivan Vasiliev officially became one of my favorite people when he told Pointe that he’d “love to be tall, blond and have blue eyes…and Wolverine claws!” And, just FYI, the guy also has a remote-control helicopter that he can operate with his iPhone. If you haven’t yet read Laura Cappelle’s interview with the Bolshoi-turned-Mikhailovsky superstar, you’re missing out.