Maya Plisetskaya is one of the most gifted dancers of all time, so if you had to pick one to beat the odds on longevity, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate. She has had a huge influence on ballet with her unique style, charisma, and dramatic as well as technical genius. The clip that inspired this post is of a performance at age 61. Actually, the great dancer is a lot older than that now (88), but what’s really amazing about this clip is that she was performing ballet. Ballet is the only dance form that trains the body to do that which is unnatural to it and for this reason classical dancers nearly always retire when they are in their thirties. Dancing like this at 61 is like playing professional football at that age. It’s not unusual to see tap dancers still hoofing it in their 80s, but ballet? Teaching, creating choreography, running a ballet company, definitely, but a professional soloist with a world class company? Unheard of! And as you can see, at 61 you can’t tell she isn’t still a young dancer in her prime. She actually retired as a soloist for the Bolshoi at the age of 65, but I couldn’t find any examples of her dancing at that age. Anyone have a more recent clip than this one? My thanks yet again to Rebecca Shannon for turning me on to this wonderful video:
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by LaurieAnn Lepoff
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