Alexandra Danilova at the Metropolitan Opera House, 1957. Photo © Jack Mitchell

#tbt: Why Alexandra Danilova Could Never Pick a Favorite Role

In the April 1944 issue of Dance Magazine, we chatted with prima ballerina assoluta Alexandra Danilova.


After leaving the Soviet Union in 1924 with George Balanchine, she danced with Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes and Colonel de Basil's troupe before becoming the most beloved leading lady of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, where she formed a legendary partnership with Frederic Franklin.

By the time of her final performance in 1957, the remarkably versatile dancer had seemingly mastered every ballet in the repertoire. "A ballerina loves all her roles, just like a mother loves all her children," she told us. "Each is dear for some special reason. One you love because your public adores it. Another you prize because you worked so hard to make it what you wanted it to be. Still another seems to be really you, it is so much like you personally. There are as many reasons for loving a role as there are different roles."

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What It Was Like When Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was in the Audience—or Backstage

The 27 years that Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent on the U.S. Supreme Court were 27 years that she spent as one of Washington, D.C.'s most ardent, elegant and erudite supporters of the performing arts. The justice, who died on September 18 of metastatic cancer, was also an avid cultural tourist, traveling to the Santa Fe and Glimmerglass operas nearly every summer, as well as occasionally returning to catch shows in her native New York City.

Ginsburg's opera fandom was well known, but her tastes were wide-ranging. Particularly in the last 10 years of her life, after Ginsburg lost her beloved husband, Marty, it was not unusual for the petite justice and her security detail to be spotted at theaters several nights a week. She saw everything, from classic musicals to serious new plays, plus performances that defied classification, like Martha Clarke's dance drama Chéri, with Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, which toured to the Kennedy Center in 2014.

To honor Ginsburg, Dance Magazine asked three dance artists whose performances the justice attended to recall what Ginsburg meant to them.

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