The Big Picture: In perfect harmony
Tuesday 25 May 2010
Set against a deep ocean blue backdrop, these two dancers from the Royal Ballet look suspended in thin air as they leap in synch to George Balanchine's Symphony in C.
The ballet's four movements are part of a large, celebratory piece for a cast of more than 40 dancers which will bring the Royal Ballet's summer season to a close.
Balanchine, a Russian born maestro who went on to pioneer ballet in the United States, set this particular work to Bizet's "Symphony in C", which the French composer wrote at the age of 17 while studying in Paris. The score was lost after Bizet's death in 1875 and was only rediscovered in the early 1930s. Fellow Russian composer, Igor Stravinsky, alerted his old friend Balanchine to the existence of the score and encouraged him to choreograph a ballet around the work.
For ballet dancers, the piece provides ample opportunity for dizzying arrays of skill and stamina. Patterns of soloists and ensembles complement and contrast each other until the exhilarating finale brings everyone together for an uplifting climax.
The two dancers in this picture are Sergei Polunin and Yuhui Choe, two of Covent Garden's rising young stars. Choe joined the Royal Ballet in 2002, having won a year's apprenticeship with the company at the Prix de Lausanne, the most prestigious of the international student competitions. She was born in Japan to Korean parents. Ukraine-born Polunin, who is renowned for his jumping abilities despite being 5ft 11in, arrived in London the same year and has also won the Prix de Lausanne.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant