On Opening Night it is customary for the American Ballet Theatre (ABT) to change the lead dancers for each act, thus displaying the depth of the company’s talent all at once. For the audience it is a surprise that enriches the experience of the ballet.
In Act One, Gillian Murphy and Cory Stears danced Kitri and Basilio in a dazzling interplay of slender height, fleet-footed elegance, athletic prowess and sheer talent. Gillian Murphy rose to stardom at an early age, performing the Black Swan pas de deux at the age of eleven and was only seventeen when she joined the ABT in 1996. Three years later she was promoted to soloist; and, in 2002, achieved the status of Principal Dancer. A performer of stellar distinction Gillian, supreme mistress of the pirouette, executed perfect-form quadruple fouettés with ease – all the while fluttering a fan!