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By Wendy Perron
At Youth America Grand Prix’s gala performance last April, Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev stopped the show. The moment they burst onto the stage in Vasily Vainonen’s Flames of Paris, the audience cheered. Their jumps were so high and their pirouettes so insanely uncountable that we kept on yelling. But it was at Vasiliev’s first split jeté entournant that the excitement exploded into a deafening roar, such as I have never experienced at City Center—or any other theater. And it wasn’t coming from overhead or over yonder; it was right around me. And I was part of it! One simply couldn’t sit still.
The surprises kept coming. His variation sported double air turns on a dangerous-looking tilt, and the coda had her whizzing through single-double fouettés—with triples occasionally thrown in. But Osipova and Vasiliev are not simply tricksters. She has as much air as fire in her dancing, and he modulates his timing so that you see his heart as well as his triumphs. In this, their U.S. debut as a pair, they emerged as dazzlers.