It’s often said that the key ingredient in a successful partnership is trust. In this 1994 clip from a Dancers for Life benefit performance, Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Evelyn Hart and National Ballet of Canada’s Rex Harrington demonstrate trust in action as they perform Jiří Kylián’s Nuages. The two stars of Canadian ballet frequently danced together, and the result is a beautiful example of vulnerability and strength. The aquatic, push-pull effect of Kylián’s choreography appears seamless, as if they were breathing as one. Watch the sequence at 1:30, as Hart arches over Harrington’s arm, then falls forward over her pointe shoes to her knees—it’s a cantilevered moment that could easily look manhandled if not perfectly timed. But these two make it as elastic as taffy. Hart dances completely free, because she has no doubt that Harrington will catch her.
In the beginning of the clip, Harrington notes that he and Hart performed Nuages at Rudolf Nureyev’s memorial service, and that it was the one ballet the Russian dancer claimed he could watch over and over again.
Harrington retired in 2004 and is now artist in residence at NBoC. (He played a hilarious King of Hearts in Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.) Hart finished out her 30-year career in 2006, but recently returned to the stage. In March she starred in James Kudelka’s Love Sex & Brahms. Next week she returns to Royal Winnipeg Ballet to perform in the world premiere of Kudelka’s Vespers. Happy #TBT!