Stars of the 21st Century

January 13, 2009

Hi DS readers,


I’m sure that many of you, as dancers, are huge fans of the ballet. Whether you prefer a live, evening performance of Giselle or you enjoy sitting on your couch watching the final scenes from Center Stage, when ballet is done right, it’s absolutely breathtaking. Last night I was fortunate enough to attend the Stars of the 21st Century International Ballet Gala at NYC’s Lincoln Center. Sure, I live in NYC and I work here at Dance Spirit, but this was my first real, big-city ballet and I can happily say it was everything I had hoped it would be.


First off, let me tell you that as a dancer, Lincoln Center needs to be on your life’s “must see” list. At night, the arches of the Opera House glow under the white lights in the dark and the buzz of eager ballet fans entering the New York State Theater next door is exhilarating. The men donned tuxedos and ladies arrived decked out in fur coats with handfuls of diamonds adorning their ears and necks.


But OK, on to the ballet… The two-act program featured a range of dancers from Berlin to Munich, Paris to Vienna, and of course, New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. Each Pas de Deux variation was captivating, to say the least. The evening’s classical variations like Le Corsaire (performed by Anastasia Matvienko and Denis Matvienko from Mikhailovsky Opera and Ballet Theatre in Russia) and La Sylphide (performed by Myriam Ould-Brahm, Paris Opera Ballet, and David Makhateli, Royal Ballet) featured slow and controlled movements and long, perfectly pointed extensions. 


For me, it was the unique ballets that really caught my attention, like Radio & Juliet, which was performed by Anastasia and Denis to music by Radiohead. She traded in her earlier fairy-tale costume for a simple burgundy camisole and tiny black shorts. This time around, their movements were sharp and performed to the strong beats of the music.


Stealing the show, undoubtedly, was Daniil Simkin, a dancer with the Vienna Opera Ballet. Daniil took the stage three times last night–twice in solos and once in a Don Quixote Pas de Deux with Roberta Marquez of the Royal Ballet. Daniil’s charismatic stage presence almost overshadowed his bounding leaps and perfectly solid turns. You never worried that Daniil might miss a beat or lose his spot. He was flawless the entire evening and each time he took the stage he was welcomed with resounding yells of “bravo!” from the audience.


I hope that somewhere in your future lies tickets to a ballet at Lincoln Center! But if you can’t make it to NYC, get excited for the March issue of DS, which is our annual Ballet Issue. It’s jam-packed with ballet competition strategies, new pointe shoe styles and 10 up-and-coming ballet talents. It’ll be arriving in your mailboxes soon!


Happy Dancing,