Sunday, May 22, 2011
We Love Polina Semionova at the ABT
On Saturday the Boshoi-trained Polina Semionova performed to a sold-out audience at the American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Semionova was on loan from the Staatsballet Berlin, and was performing as Kitra in Don Quixote. From the moment she stepped on stage all eyes were glued to her. Poor David Hallberg and Veronika Part, magnificent dancers both, didn't stand a chance. We (I speak on behalf of the audience) love Polina. Why do we love her? Because she balances unwaveringly en pointe for an unspeakable amount of time in an attitude derriere that she then extends to a lingering arabesque. Because she spins like a top in so many pirouettes you lose count after eight, when she slides her foot down to a sous-sus as if the stage were ice and she a figure skater. Because she does double fouettes without using her arms to help her around, but instead sets one hand jauntily on a hip while the other hand shoots straight up with a fan, demonstrating her prowess. Because, when David Hallberg doesn't get that she really can do more pirouettes at the end of a grueling performance, and stops her after three revolutions, she takes an extra balance just to show she has more in her legs. Because she's not afraid to show off. Because she shows what the female body can do when in peak form. Because she wears a girlish, wide smile that fills the theatre with the joy of dance. Because she makes little girls spin in circles at intermission (this is a fact, I saw it with my own eyes). Because she reminds us of the joyful little girl in all of us, the one who would spin around until she fell down laughing and dizzy, the one for whom anything was possible.