Born in Connecticut American prima ballerina Bridget Breiner started her ballet training at the BalletMet Dance Academy in Columbus, Ohio, and continued it at the Heinz Bosl Foundation in Munich. She became a corps de ballet dancer at the Bavarian State Ballet and worked there up to 1996 getting a promotion as a demi soloist ballerina.
Bridget excels at dramatic acting roles so when she joined the Stuttgart Ballet in the 1996 she was promoted to soloist and then to principal dancer in 2001. Since that time Bridget has been a muse to many choreographers including David Dawson, Douglas Lee, Mauro Bigonzetti and Christian Spuck. Recently Breiner successfully started working as a free-lance ballet choreographer.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1975 Paloma Herrera soon became a famous prodigy ballerina in the South America. She began studying ballet when she was 7 years old and won many prestigious ballet competitions on the continent. She continued her ballet training in Belarus and its completion returned back to ballet dancing in Buenos Aires.
As her talent became known worldwide, Paloma was invited to study at the English National Ballet in London. Later she moved to America and was accepted to the corps de ballet of American Ballet Theatre in 1991. When Paloma Herrera was only 18 years old she was promoted there to soloist and in 1995 she became a principal dancer.
Alina Cojocaru was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1981. When Alina was a kid she was studying gymnastics and never saw a live ballet. This all changed when she was sent to Bucharest Ballet School and several months later sent with eight other students to Kiev to participate in student exchange program.
At the age 16 Alina won a gold medal at a prestigious international ballet competition Prix de Lausanne. The medal came with another benefit – a six month scholarship at the Royal Ballet School in London.
After intense ballet training in London Alina Cojocaru made a decision to join the Kiev Ballet as a principal dancer. After one season she returned back to the Royal Ballet in London in 1999, and soon she got promoted there to the principal dancer in 2001.
Since that time she performed in many dramatic roles on stage including her Her famous ballet dancing as Giselle, alongside her partner in life and on stage Johan Kobborg. Her famous performance was recorded in 2006 and aired in England on Boxing Day.
Gudrun Bojesen became a principal dancer of the Royal Danish ballet in Copenhagen in 2001. Her career as a ballerina started in 1992 when she became an apprentice there after intense training at the Ballet School of the Royal Theatre in Denmark.
She was born in Denmark in 1976. Throughout her amazing career Gudrun danced in many leading roles and was been awarded a number of prestigious grants and prizes.
Gudrun Bojesen in Bournonville’s Flower Festival in Genzano.
Famous Georgian ballerina Nina Ananiashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia in 1963. The beginning of her career was quite unusual, as at first little Nian was dreaming to become a figure skating star. And she even became a champion in the junior division in her native Republic of Georgia. However, at the age of 13 she entered the Moscow Choreographic Institute, successfully graduate from it and got invited into corps de ballet of entered the Bolshoi Ballet in 1981.
She quickly rose through ranks and became a prima ballerina in Bolshoi. With her dancing partner Andris Liepa she was the first Soviet dancer to appeared as a guest performer at the New York City Ballet in 1988 (they were first Soviet dancers invited to show their mastership there). Soon Nina became a principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, and in 1999 she joined the Houston Ballet with that same rank.
After her native Georgia became independent Nina Ananiashvili headed the National Ballet Ensemble of Georgia as an artistic director. Since 2006, she has been appointed as an United Nations National Goodwill Ambassador.
Anneli Elisabeth Alhanko Skoglund is one of a few chosen ballerinas in the world with the title Prima Ballerina Assoluta. She was in Bogota Columbia in 1953. For many years she was the leading ballerina in the Opera Ballet in Stockholm. After retirement from the stage Anneli taught and then became a founder of the elite dance school Base 23 in Stockholm which opened its doors to young ballerinas on January 2010. An interesting fact: she is an aunt to the actress Josephine Alhanko, the Miss Sweden 2006 titleholder.
Alhanko was a dance student at Operabaletten, The Opera Ballet in Stockholm, Sweden. She is one of the very few in the world with the title prima ballerina assoluta.
Anneli Alhanko is aunt to the actress Josephine Alhanko, the Miss Sweden 2006 titleholder.
Alhanko is also the founder of the dance school Base 23  which opened in Stockholm January 2010.
This leading Russian ballerina was born in 1938 in a small Northern Ossetian city of Khumalg. Svetlana Adyrkhayeva successfully fisnished Leningrad Choreographic School (which later got renamed as the Russian Ballet Academy) in 1955. Her way to Bolshoi Ballet was not easy, She danced for several years on stages of Chelyabinsk and Odessa before she was invited to Bolshoi in 1960.
This is when Svetlana got her chance to shine. She was soloist and leading ballerina until 1988. Adyrkhayeva got very complex dramatic roles and made them her own. This video presents her dancing in one of those roles as Aegina in Spartacus ballet.
Adyrkhayeva not only danced, she also became a russian balletmaster in 1980. She taught classical dance at Choreographic Academy until she returned back to Bolshoi Theatre where she currently works as a Balletmaster-Repetiteur.
Born in 1926 Diana Adams was the favorite of George Balanchine and ruled the stage of the New York City Ballet from 1950 to 1963. She was the leading dancer for NYCB. When Diana retired from the stage, she switched to successful teaching and training young ballerinas and eventually became a dean at the School of American Ballet. She died on January 10, 1993.
Eleonora Abbagnato was born in Palermo, Italy in 1978. When she was only 11 she debuted on Italian live TV program and at age 12 At age 12 she moved to Monte Carlo , where she studied in the ballet school of Marika Bresobrasova. She went on with ballet training in Cannes and then entered famous ‘Ecole danse in Parisian Opera in 1992. She made an amazing career as she entered corps de ballet of Parisian Opera in 1996, and became a coryphée in 1999 , sujet in 2000 and première danseuse in 2001 .
It is impossible to imagine modern or classical ballet dance without entrechat. So what is entrechat in ballet moves, anyways? Basically, it is a step of beating in which a ballet dancer jumps into the air and rapidly crosses the legs before and behind each other. The dancer usually jumps from the fifth position and lands back in the fifth position. We count entrechats moves from two to ten according to the number of crossings required and counting each crossing as two movements, one by each leg. For example, in an entrechat quatre each leg makes two distinct movements.
There are two classes of entrechats in ballet dancing: even-numbered and odd-numbered. The even-numbered entrechats, or those which land on two feet: deux, quatre, six, huit and dix (2,4,6,8,10). The odd-numbered entrechats, or those which land on one foot: trois, cinq, sept and neuf (3,5,7,9).
For example: in an entrechat-quatre starting from fifth position, right foot front, the dancer will jump crossing legs and beating first the right heel on the back of the left heel, then at the front of the left heel, landing in the same starting position.
Young ballerina who performed first in history of ballet entrechat quatre was magnificent dancer Marie Camargo. She performed it during her debut at the Paris Opera with the ballet Les Caracteres de la Danse in 1726. It brought Marie Camargo fame and fortune. And, no doubt she deserved it: after all at those times the standard women’s ballet shoes looked differently. These were not ballet slippers or pointe shoes as we know them. Ballerinas danced in the conventional shoes that had heels!
In a sample YouTube video the ballet dancer performs quite tough 32 entrechats six in the second act of Giselle.
In any ballet studio we observe horizontal bars, approximately wast height, and wooden bars mounted along the walls. They are very important for ballet exercises and for developing dance techniques. In fact, every ballet training class for young and mature ballerinas start with basic barre ballet positions. These warm up exercises are very important for dancers as they relax ballerinas muscles. And this is just one of the benefits that barre work brings.
Typically, barre exercises make up a significant portion of the beginning ballerinas class. Young dancers who have just joined ballet studio may find barre exercises boring at first because they are slow and repetitive. Yet, soon enough, they learn to depend upon them.
Overall, barre exercises are extremely important in all levels of ballet training. They gradually build strength while teaching the body correct placement. Beginning pointe dancers will find them extremely useful too, as their ankles may not be strong enough to support them in the center. Barre work also prepares ballerinas for partnering, with the barre providing support that a partner would offer later, during actual partnering.
I could not pass by excellent video from Czech ballet school. Maybe, the music is out of tune, but young ballerinas vividly demonstrate the importance of barres and ballet stretching. I hope you will enjoy this video too.
One can not confuse a ballet tutu with any other female skirt. Designers use various materials to create tutus, the most traditional among them are tulle, voile, muslin and nylon.
It’s been a couple of centuries since female ballet dancers started using tutus during ballet performance. To an untrained eye they all look the same, but balletomanes know that it is not true. In the modern ballet there are 4 major types of tutus worn for ballet dancing. Two of them are classical with the difference in shape (bell or pancake). And the other too are romantic tutu and Balanchine-Karinska tutu.
Classical tutus of both types extend outwards from the hips. They are made with layers of netting and have fitted bodice. The main difference between them is that the tutu shaped as a bell does not use a wired hoop while the pancake tutu uses one that keeps the layers flat and stiff.
Romantic Tutu is probably the most famous of all ballet clothing. Specialists say that Marie Taglioni, famous ballet dancer of Romantic ballet era invented it and popularized it among European ballet dancers. This bell shaped tulle skirt is free flowing and emphasizes lightness and ethereal quality of the romantic ballets. The length varies between the knee and the ankle.
The last type of a tutu has an interesting origin. Father of American ballet and famous ballet master George Balanchine often choreographed ballets with a large assembly of dancers on stage. This led to an unusual problem with the traditional pancake tutus – ballerinas skirts often brushed against each other.
In 1950 famous designer Karinska that costumed Ballanchine’s ballets solved this problem. She invented so-called powder puff tutu that had looser appearance than a stiff pancake tutu. Her newly designed tutu was self supporting and did not require the wired hoop anymore.
Ballet is a highly technical form of dance with its origins in the Italian Renaissance court, where it emerged in the late 15th century as a dance interpretation of fencing. Later ballet was developed into a very complicated dance works with mime, acting and other components that are set to music. Ballet has graceful, flowing and very precise movements with almost ethereal qualities.