Classical ballets may vary in style, setting and plot, but one theme unites the most famous ballets: love. These five lovely pas de deuxFrench for “step of two”are the ballet equivalent of a lacy paper valentine or heart-shaped box of chocolates: sweet, romantic, and perfect to enjoy around Valentine’s Day.
The Balcony Pas de Deux From Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet
The youthful joy of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers (as choreographed by Sir Kenneth MacMillan) is on full display in this Act I pas de deux. After their fateful meeting at a masquerade, Romeo appears at Juliet’s balcony, and the two declare their love for each other.
The Ballroom Pas de Deux From Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella
The familiar “love at first dance” scene from Cinderella is made even more enchanting when this delicate choreography is performed in the round.
The Bedroom Pas de Deux From MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet
Yes, we really did have to include a second Romeo and Juliet pas on this list. This passionate moment between the pair turns bittersweet if you’re familiar with the tragic ending to come.
The Act II Pas de Deux From Marius Petipa’s Giselle
This pas de deux is certainly “romantic” in the original sense of the word—as in ethereal, supernatural and highlighting intense emotions. However, Albrecht may need to be crowned the Worst Ballet Boyfriend Ever, considering it’s his dishonesty that led to Giselle’s death in the first place. (And Giselle still saves him! She’s loyal to a fault!)
The Wedding Pas de Deux From Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty
Trust is surely a hallmark of a successful relationship, and nothing demonstrates trust quite like those quick and dramatic fish dives. Prince Désiré proves himself worthy of Princess Aurora’s love twice over: First by defeating Carabosse, and second by not dropping her during their wedding dance.