I admit I’m not much of a fan of Natalia Osipova. I hear she’s simmered down lately, but a few years back she was nothing but a bald-faced athlete. Maybe that’s why I dislike this video so much (I hasten to point out that it’s 5 years old, and that’s an eon in the life of a ballerina).
Of course, true Romantic-style ballet has long since vanished. If we saw ballet dancers dancing that way these days, we’d assume they were rank beginners. But even by today’s relaxed Romantic standards Osipova’s arms are all wrong, held way too high, strong, and straight, (although she has some lovely flowing, boneless instants, you can blink and miss them).
She’s mostly all muscle and sinew in this video. She’s inhabiting her body too much; she looks too “alive” even though, as I said, she has ethereal moments where she appears to be floating. For instance she’s not looking over the shoulder of her Albrecht (a very okay Ivan Vassiliev, although I keep wishing for Anthony Dowell no matter whose Albrecht I’m watching). She’s looking right at him and playing to him. No. No. No. Giselle is dead. She honestly doesn’t inhabit the physical world anymore; she has no grand passion and her only aim is to keep Albrecht alive through the night of the Wili’s (probably so he can feel miserable about her until he dies decades later). This is a dance about being forgiven from beyond the grave, not a display of how well one can bouree’ and appear to be floating with the occasional lovely arm flourish for good measure.
As I said, this video is from five long years ago and probably much has changed with Osipova. She’s been through a lot of companies and danced on a lot of stages since then; she’s more mature now. But still, I think this video is a mess.