Choreographers of the 20th century grew sick of the heavy dramatisation and stringent costumes and sets of ballet as they knew it. Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, with the young Balanchine as its choreographer, explored movement through music and created Apollo, but at first with more plot and pomp. He eventually simplified the ballet and came to develop the clean, leotard and pointe shoe aesthetic he is famous for. The resulting style was bolder, broke from conventions and explored the true beauty of human movement.
“I was trained in the Russian classical style,” said Makarova. “My goal is to pass it on to other generations.” And yet, this hothouse flower bloomed to dazzling dimensions in the wild garden of American dance. Her Giselle transformed each partner at ABT. Her spontaneity on stage made every moment true, every performance new.