07 October 2011
Ballet: Gelsey Kirkland
Here's Gelsey Kirkland, the great (and maybe the greatest) American ballerina. Her many personal problems aside, Gelsey was always exceptional on stage. This particular video highlights her performance of the Sugar Plum Fairy variation in The Nutcracker, with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Yes, she's very thin, but...oh my goodness, the way she dances. Every movement, every moment is beautiful. She brings out things in the music that might not have seemed so obvious before. I read somewhere a comment that she becomes a three-dimensional representation of the music in this variation, and I can't argue with such a description.
What to note:
Gelsey was a student of Balanchine, but to me she was a more truly classical dancer than he tended to develop. And she stands head-to-toe with any dancer that Russia produced. Those arms, that footwork, that balance, that control. It's perfection.
(Hint: Her variation is the first two minutes of the video.)