The rehearsal studio is a sacred place for dancers. It’s where they assume roles of new and timeless works, transforming their movement to convey the ballets we cherish on stage. This process is intimate and personal, and can reveal a dancer’s ability to become the artist we see outside the studio.
In this video from 2006, we see Polina Semionova rehearsing Nikiya’s variation from Act I of La Bayadère. Instructing her is Vladimir Malakhov, who chose her only four years earlier when she was 18 to join the Berlin State Opera Ballet—the youngest principal dancer in the company’s history. The piano accompaniment supports Polina’s long lines as she expands within the space. She is becoming Nikiya, using this simple variation to play with the beautiful port de bras unique to the ballet. At 5’ 9”, she lengthens beyond her limits, proving that costumes and a proscenium stage are only additional ornamentation. Moments like this reveal Polina’s sensitivity to the music and her individual artistry—two qualities that have made her one of the most beautiful dancers performing today. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!