Makarova reunited with the Kirov in August 1988 in London, dancing opposite Konstantin Zaklinsky.

Nina Alovert, Courtesy DM Archives

Celebrate Natalia Makarova's 80th Birthday With These Rarely Seen Archival Photos

November 21 marks Natalia Makarova's 80th birthday.

The ballerina made international headlines in September 1970 when she defected from the Soviet Union while on tour with the Kirov Ballet in London. That December, she made her American Ballet Theatre debut, an association that altered the company's trajectory.


"In ballet, stardom doesn't come overnight as it does in Hollywood," she told Dance Magazine in the August 1985 issue, "...because we work every single day of our lives to improve ourselves...So if a dancer becomes a star, that stardom has been won through the sweat of our brows."

Makarova found success outside of ballet as well, winning Tony and Olivier awards for her performances in the musical On Your Toes. She continues to coach at ABT.

Wayne J. Shilkret, Courtesy DM Archives

Makarova in the Kirov's Swan Lake, September 1964

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

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December 2020