Kitri’s Act I variation in Don Quixote is short—but not exactly sweet. Though this clip from a 90s documentary lacks the ballet’s usual setting of matadors milling around a Spanish plaza, former American Ballet Theatre principal Susan Jaffe doesn’t need scenery to draw her audience in. Kitri’s power moves are all about passion, and they … More »
Ballet is nothing without technique, but when a performance is accompanied by nothing more than that, it loses its allure. Not so in this 1983 clip of American Ballet Theatre’s Cynthia Harvey in Don Quixote. Here, she’s a breath of fresh air, striking the perfect balance between technique and artistry. She blends the clean lines … More »
Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote are some of my favorite ballets. I love watching the grace that is Odette and Aurora and the strength of Juliet and Kitri. But after watching this clip from a DVD released in 2009 of Mariinsky Ballet principal Alina Somova, I can say Queen of … More »
Angel Corella has been shaking things up at Pennsylvania Ballet ever since he took over as artistic director in 2014. His new production of Don Quixote, which premiered last weekend and runs through Sunday, March 13, features a slew of young corps and apprentice dancers in leading roles. Perhaps most surprisingly, Corella paired first-year apprentices … More »
When Pennsylvania Ballet premieres artistic director Angel Corella’s Don Quixote on March 3 at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music, it will be the company’s first time performing the audience favorite. With his artistic tenure well underway, and his own experiences to draw from, Corella’s vision is clear. According to Corella, PAB’s production is all about authenticity—something … More »
He may appear baby-faced in this clip from the 2005 Helsinki International Ballet Competition, but 17-year-old Daniil Simkin already dances like a fully formed prince. In Basilio’s variation from Don Quixote (which won him the Grand Prix), Simkin displays the maturity and control of a dancer twice his age. Every step is precisely executed. He … More »
Miami City Ballet’s Dream-y New Production To celebrate its 30th-anniversary season, Miami City Ballet is making a splash. The company’s closing program this spring will transplant A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Balanchine’s 1962 full-length ballet, to the Florida shore, diving underwater for elements of the supernatural realm. Coral Castle, a romantic old-Miami landmark, provides the model … More »
The ballet Don Quixote depicts classical Russian elegance dressed in fiery Spanish flair. Although Marius Petipa’s version for the Bolshoi Ballet debuted in 1869, most modern productions are based off of Alexander Gorksy’s 1900 revival. He sought to trade Petipa’s pageantry for more naturalistic story telling. However, it seems that Gorsky ceded to the suspension of narrative in Act III, keeping the grandiose wedding pas de deux to showcase the Bolshoi stars’ resplendent technique.
Don Quixote’s flirtatious and spunky Kitri is an exciting character for ballerinas to portray—any role is fun if it includes a prop fan! But it’s also an important stepping-stone in a dancer’s professional career, alongside Juliet, Odette/Odile and Aurora. In this 1998 recording, Paloma Herrera masters the role, raising the standard for future Kitris in only her third year as principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre. As she dances this variation, Herrera consumes the stage, abandoning all fear.
Don Quixote overflows with humor, flirtation and romance. And what better character to gather romance and energy than Cupid—performed in this video by the Bolshoi Ballet’s Evgenia Obraztsova.