All About Pointe > The Ethereal Woman


Pointe dancing is more than a technical achievement, more than just a virtuosic trick. In many ballets it is a crucial dramatic element, essential to the telling of the story. The classics are full of supernatural creatures who appear to float or hover or fly with an ethereal lightness and delicacy. The great ballerina roles include many fairies (Sugar Plum Fairy, Dewdrop Fairy in The Nutcracker, Lilac Fairy and the Fairy Godmothers in The Sleeping Beauty, Titiana in A Midsummer Night's Dream), and many ghosts (Wilis in Giselle, Shades in La Bayadére), magic birds (Swan Lake and Firebird), as well as numerous sylphs, sprites and nymphs.

In these roles, the ballerina's pointe dancing conveys supernatural weightlessness, and makes her character more convincing. As a fairy or a sylph, she uses her pointes to flit magically about the stage. As the wicked temptress Odile in Swan Lake, she hypnotizes Prince Seigfried by turning thirty-two fouettés en pointe. As Princess Aurora, she shows poise and elegance during the astounding en pointe balaces in The Sleeping Beauty's Rose Adagio.