Photo taken from the Prix de Lausanne website.

Last weekend I went to another fabulous Guggenheim Works & Process event, this one in celebration of Frederic Franklin, the 95-year-old formerly of Ballets Russes who’s worked with American Ballet Theater for many years now performing non-dance character roles and setting ballets on the company and its studio company, ABT II. I’ve written about him here.

ABT, ABT II, and some of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School students performed some ballets Franklin has staged for them. My favorite was the Hungarian Czardas section from Petipa’s Raymonda, performed by ABT II, with Irlan Silva and Meaghan Hinkis as the lead couple. So much fun — and really made me want to see the whole ballet. I’ve since gotten my hands on a couple videos — more on them later.  But for now I just want to say how wonderful I thought Silva was — how much he stands out, how much strength and discipline and precision he has, along with that ever elusive star necessity, Presence. Even doing basic heel toe steps, he just brings it to another level.

Here are a couple of videos of him at the 2008 Prix de Lausanne, where he danced for his native Brazil and placed very well. The first is of his contemporary solo, a little-seen work by Nijinsky, and the second is his classical variation, from Le Corsaire.

And here is a video I found of that Czardas, danced by others.

Also performed, by others, were the classical Raymonda variations and the Sleeping Beauty Bluebird Pas de Deux. And, ABT dancers were David Hallberg and Xiomara Reyes dancing the Giselle Act II Pas de Deux. Which was far too short! But of course one must never miss the opportunity to see David Hallberg dance up close 🙂 Among other things, he knows how to make the most of a pose, to take the lines — particularly the leg lines — to their fullest and most sublime.

Photo of Hallberg dancing with Gillian Murphy, taken from here.


  1. I so agree with you, Tonya! This kid has so much to offer and so much potential to blossom artistically. Look at his feet in releve – so beautiful! And look at his perfect split in grand jete – a rare feat among males (even among the best). His exotic looks reminds me of a young Jock Soto!

    Wasn't there a documentary about him?

  2. SwanLakeSambaGirl

    Hi Lesley — yes, there was a documentary. It was called Only When I Dance: It focused on him and a Brazilian girl. Both were from poor towns and both dreamed of dance careers. He made it, but she was not so successful. We were told at the end of the film though that she was now dancing with the modern troupe Deborah Colker, but when I saw them perform at City Center, she was not listed. The film was really good — but funny because when I saw it, I realized I'd seen Irlan dance before as part of ABT II and had already and had already fallen for him!

  3. Gorgeous photo of David & Gillian!

  4. I just saw the documentary with Irlan Santos da Silva. I was very moved. I tried to follow up on Irlan and check his progress with ABT but I’m not finding much info.
    His ABT profile page is empty and he’s not listed in Principal, Soloist nor Corps de Ballet.
    Does Irlan dancing still?

  5. Irlan Santos is not listed in ABT Studio Company (ABT 2) either….. I wonder what happened to him?

  6. I met irlan. He was so sweet and incredible 🙂 Me and my friend talked 2 him while he was eating potato chips times. Is he from ABT?

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