Inside Isabella Boylston's Swan Lake Journey

February 16, 2016

When non-dancers see a ballerina nail the role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, they’re impressed. But when those of us who know dance see the same feat, we’re totally, completely astounded. Because we understand how incredibly difficult it is just to SURVIVE the role’s insane technical demands—let alone to develop a nuanced interpretation of one of ballet’s most complicated characters.

That’s why Cosmopolitan‘s interview with American Ballet Theatre principal (/style icon) Isabella Boylston about her Odette/Odile journey is especially fun for us insiders. OK, no, we don’t need things like its explanation that fouettés are “quick spins while whipping a leg.” But it is interesting to hear about the intensity of the rehearsal period that led up to Boylston’s first shot at the role back in 2011—the hard work that resulted in her Swan Lake success. (And it was definitely a success. Girl is a BEAST.)

#sautdechatGOALS: Boylston as Odette in Swan Lake (photo by Gene Schiavone)

For example: At a showcase performance shortly before her debut, Boylston wasn’t able to finish the Black Swan fouetté sequence—so she drilled those fouettés like crazy in the following weeks, working on them every day in the studio to ensure that she’d have no problem killing them onstage. And I especially love this fun fact: Boylston spent many of her precious hours of downtime at the New York Performing Arts Library, watching archival footage of past Swan Lake performances for inspiration.

Basically, the article is yet another reminder that looking like a superhuman onstage is the result of many, many hours of very human effort offstage. Read the whole thing here. And if you’re in NYC, be sure to catch Boylston dancing Odette/Odile with ABT at the Metropolitan Opera House this June.

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