American Ballet Theatre: A History

Stunning Ballet Dancer GIFs

Watch the dancers of America Ballet Theatre in these six stunning GIFs showing off their expert technique and the company’s repertory from the past 75 years.

Misty Copeland in Sleeping Beauty

Misty Copeland Ballet GIF

Misty Copeland, soloist, performs an arabesque from Sleeping Beauty, staged by American Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie after Marius Petipa’s original choreography.

Fancy Free by Jerome Robbins

Fancy Free ballet GIF
Ballet stars Ethan Stiefel, Jose Manuel Carreno and Herman Cornejo perform Fancy Free (1944), Jerome Robbins’ ballet about World War II sailors on leave.

Gillian Murphy in Swan Lake

Gillian Murphy Swan Lake GIF
Principal dancer Gillian Murphy performs the role of Odette, the Swan Queen in the classic Swan Lake. To provide a sense of what a ballerina’s entire work day is like, Murphy documented a day in the week leading up to the American Ballet Theatre’s 75th anniversary season. See how many dances she rehearsed, the meals that fueled her day, and more in the ballet dancer’s journal.

Daniil Simkin in Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once

Daniil Simkin Leap Ballet GIF

Daniil Simkin, principal dancer, was filmed performing sections of Benjamin Millepied’s Everything Doesn’t Happen at Once (2009). The dancing is so athletic and graceful at once that we want to share two sections.

Daniil Simkin Ballet GIF

Simkin dances and speaks about the quest for perfection in ballet in this film outtake from American Ballet Theatre: A History.

Julie Kent and David Hallberg in Seven Sonatas

Julie Kent and David Hallberg Ballet GIF
Julie Kent and David Hallberg, principal dancers, in a performance of Seven Sonatas (2009) by Alexei Ratmansky, artist-in-residence at American Ballet Theatre. Julie Kent will retire this year after the company’s 75th anniversary spring season. Kent reflects on ballet’s meaning in the world in this film excerpt from American Ballet Theatre: A History.

All of the footage captured in these GIFs is part of American Ballet Theatre: A History premiering Friday, May 15 at 9 pm on PBS (check local listings).

To see more ballet GIFs, see our page on Tanaquil Le Clercq, the New York City Ballet dancer and muse of George Balanchine.