Dancing Balanchine's Geometry


This photograph, from the collection "Stars of the Mariinsky Ballet of the 21st Century," was taken in Moscow in 2008 by photographer Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010) during a tour by the Mariinsky Theater. It shows ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina (born 1973) and her partner Danila Korsuntsev (born 1974) rehearsing George Balanchine's ballet Symphony in C to the music of Georges Bizet. Balanchine (1904−83), born Georgi Balanchivadze, a Russian dancer and world-renowned choreographer of Georgian origin, began his dance career at the Mariinsky Theater. His ballets require not only refined technique, but also rendering of the special Balanchine spirit and style. The slightly detached manner, clearly marked geometry of dance, refined poses, and smooth cantilena of movements that can turn into a cascade of virtuosic steps are the main features characteristic of Balanchine's neoclassical-style ballets. Ulyana Lopatkina, a prima ballerina of the Mariinsky Theater, is one of the best contemporary performers of his ballets. Korsuntsev was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and joined the Mariinsky in 1998. Zhdanov, a Bolshoi dancer and then a professor of choreography for 50 years, was also a professional ballet photographer for most of his career. His pictures are spontaneous and capture on film the movements, moods, and emotions of the unposed dancers. The Reborn Art Foundation in Moscow holds this image and the rest of the Zhdanov archive.

Last updated: February 3, 2015