Giselle

Almost every professional dancer has paid her dues in the corps de ballet. It can be the most rigorous years of a dancer’s life, requiring strength and endurance to function as the backbone of the company. In this video of American Ballet Theatre’s Giselle, we experience one of the most difficult moments in a corps dancer’s repertoire. The cast sets the scene for Act II, clouding the stage with ominous white tutus and broken hearts.

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.

Georgian dancer Nina Ananiashvili was a star of the Bolshoi and, later, American Ballet Theatre. She may be blessed with endless arms and legs, but it's her warm generosity that makes her so endearing; you always want to root for her. Today, Ananiashvili is artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia. She's about to celebrate her 51st birthday—and she's still dancing.

Here's a video of Ananiashvili performing Giselle's Act I solo with the Bolshoi. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!

What would Giselle be like if she were plopped into the 21st century? Kind of hilarious.

 

Ethan Stiefel's only been in charge of the Royal New Zealand Ballet for a year, but he's already brought his signature pizazz to the company. The former ABT star is currently co-choreographing and producing a new Giselle with The Royal Ballet's Johan Kobburg—and the rehearsals and performances are being recorded for an upcoming feature film. The live ballet premieres Wednesday night, with none other than Gillian Murphy in the title role. Stay tuned for details about the film's release.

If Step Up can do it, why not Giselle? On July 12, you'll be able to watch ballet dancers sauté off the screen in 3D for the first time in history! Movie theaters nationwide will present the Kirov Ballet's Giselle at 12 pm and 7:30 pm (local time). Bolshoi Ballet star Natalie Osipova and Kirov phenom Leonid Sarafanov perform the leads in St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre. For a list of participating theaters in your area, check out fathomevents.com.