Wednesday, June 10, 2009

DANCE: A Radiant, Russian-Inflected Giselle Floats Again (

"Giselle": Nina Ananiashvili in the title role of a Russian favorite at the Metropolitan Opera House. More Photos >

Published: June 9, 2009

On Monday the Georgian ballerina Nina Ananiashvili — looking just about the same as when I first saw her dance the ballet with the Bolshoi in 1986 but now halfway through her farewell season with Ballet Theater — showed both the best Russian virtues and the qualities that have made her singularly beloved worldwide. How easily she takes to the air; how beautifully energy flows down the ravishingly long limbs of her physique (and, apparently, beyond).
Ballet textbooks say that arabesque penchée — in which the dancer leans forward and downward while extending one leg up and behind — is the ultimate test of line. Ms. Ananiashvili took one of these on Friday and made it slowly stretch (I heard someone in the audience gasp) so that you thought about this standard position as if for the first time.

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