Curtain Up

January 11, 2011



We like to do something special for Valentine’s Day because dance has so much to do with love—love of dance, infatuation with dancers. What could be more fitting than a story on the ballet Romeo and Juliet—especially the balcony scene, when love first dawns and all is happy. Questions about the difference between the MacMillan version and the Cranko version have bubbled up through Twitter. Joseph Carman’s “Swept Away” takes a look at how major choreographers have handled that ultimate swoon—the balcony scene.


The ballerina who first set the dance world aflame with her Juliet was Galina Ulanova. She danced the role with both the Kirov and the Bolshoi, but it was with the Bolshoi that she burned her name into history. A current Juliet who has been compared to Ulanova is Yevgenia Obraztsova. “Genia,” as she is called by her friends, is a first soloist in the Kirov (appearing this month at the Kennedy Center, but alas, without her). A 2006 “25 to Watch,” she has melted hearts with her Juliet—and Giselle and the Sylph. Read Margaret Willis’ “The Kirov’s Glowing Gem” to find out more about the young international ballerina who graces our cover.


The least romantic part of a dancer’s life might be coping with injuries. Choreographer Stephen Petronio found out early in his career, when faced with the question of surgery, that he had to trust his own instincts. In “Injury as Opportunity,” he writes eloquently about just that: seeing an injury not as a personal disaster but as the chance to learn more about your body.


Similarly, a failed audition can also be an opportunity. Our “Auditions Guide” carries a story about dancer Mayte Natalio going to callbacks for the choreographer Aszure Barton. No, she didn’t get chosen, but she engaged in Barton’s physically and emotionally demanding way of working, and learned about her own desire for challenge in the process. If you look through our audition listings, you too may find, if not the job, the process of your dreams.



Genia staying warm.  Photo by Matthew Karas.