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Beauty in Motion: Diana Vishneva leaves ABT

At the age of 40, a ballerina’s days on stage are numbered. Ballet at the principal level requires daily discipline of ballet class, flexibility and strength training that is exhausting. The body can never take a day off. Injuries inevitably start to take their toll. At some point, you have to step off the stage and plan for the rest of your life. 

Diana Vishneva gave her last performance for American Ballet Theater on Friday. She was one of the great dancers of her generation. She didn’t have the perfect ballerina body, her legs were a bit spindly and short. But she inhabited her roles and performed each movement with a fluidity that is missing from many dancers today.  I wish I had been able to see her dance in person. Fortunately, there are plenty of videos on YouTube for us to marvel at just how good she was in both classical and contemporary pieces, whether she danced on pointe or on her knees. 

Here are three examples. The first is a contemporary dance made on her for F.L.O.W., choreographed by Moses Pendleton to the Gayatri Mantra*. The second is the iconic White Swan Odette variation from Swan Lake. Enjoy! The third is from an ABT performance of Giselle with partner Marcelo Gomez. No one floats so weightlessly. Pick it up at the 1:20 minute mark. (Recording is not great, dancing is magnificent)


 “Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat.”

3 Responses

  1. Each year, we attend ABT during the spring season. So, we’ve been fortunate to have seen Vishneva dance in person a few times. The first was in 2009. As Odette-Odile, she was partnered by Gomes as Prince Siegfried. I wrote a blog post about that performance.


    Roz in NJ/NYC

    • Lucky!!!
      I would have killed to see her do Swan Lake even though I can’t stand story ballets, music notwithstanding.
      I take that back. I can’t stand 19th century story ballets. Way too stagey and melodramatic.
      I’m a Balanchine girl. Can’t help it.

  2. God, she’s just beautiful. Thank you for this.

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