Makarova/Godunov triumph in molasses-tempoed Don Q pas de deux

Both are Russian-born-and-trained sensations: she of the Kirov, he of the Bolshoi. Both were Soviet defectors. I never saw him dance in person, but he fascinates me. I saw her dance many times, with American Ballet Theatre. I worship her. Note his one-armed lift (of her) at 0:53. Note her turns — every one of them. Her turns breathe. See her (twice-executed) en dedans pirouette, 01:55; it cascades into a hard-to-fathom chain of motion ending in a sumptuous, supported back bend. This is ballet classicism at its zenith. You don’t see this mix of steely technique and regal bearing any more, not really.

Godunov’s poses and partnering. Makarova’s placement: precise, resilient, reliable. It’s exquisite. The molasses tempo! An inside joke, doing Don Q that slowly makes it that much harder. Did we know at the time we were watching the top?

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