Opus N°10 Pas de Poisson

This is the first of the four "pas de deux" that he created, "Pas de Poisson" is inspired by the artists Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev of the Bolshoi Ballet. They are depicted in the Ballet Don Quixote, she as Kitri and he as Basil the barber. The music is by Ludwig Minkus and the choreography by Marius Petipa. They formed one of the most famous couples in classical ballet. Born in 1939 in Moscow, Ekatarina entered the Bolshoi Ballet school in 1949, at the same time as Vladimir, becoming member of the company in 1958. They married, becoming partners in life as well as on the stage. She died in 2009.

This sculpure by Ghiorgo Zafiropulo masterfully shows the movement ending by Maximova sliding down the thigh of her partner Vasiliev, the movement is suspended before it recovers and he lifts her. This can be seen on YouTube where one sees acrobatics defying gravity for a few seconds (the ballet was created in 1966 and recorded by the same artists in 1973). As usual the hands and feet are barely suggested, as also the faces but one can perceive the intensity of their look as they execute and hold the position. The tension in the muscles of the couple is extreme and the back of the dancer is clearly visible through his leotard.