Giselle, Second Act Grand Pas de Deux featuring Natalia Makarova is Giselle, Mikhail Baryshnikov is Albrecht, Martine Van Hamel is Myrtha with American Ballet Theater, John Lanchbery conducts. The production was filmed at the Metropolitan Opera House on June 2, 1977.
Natalia Makarova was born in Leningrad in former Soviet Russia. At the age of 12, she auditioned for the Leningrad Choreographic School (formerly the Imperial Ballet School), and was accepted although most students join the school at the age of 10. She was a permanent member of the Kirov Ballet in Leningrad from 1956 to 1970, achieving prima ballerina status during the 1960s.
Soon after Makarova defected to the West in 1970, she began performing with the American Ballet Theatre in New York and the Royal Ballet in London. At first she was eager to expand her choreography by dancing ballets by modern choreographers. She remained most identified with classical roles such as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake and Giselle; she was featured in the 1976 live American Ballet Theatre production of Swan Lake, simulcast from Lincoln Center on both PBS and NPR. Makarova continued to excel in many different roles most notably, her title role in Giselle. She was slim and slight, and combined a delicacy and lyricism with impeccable classical training.
In 1976 Makarova married Edward Karkar, a businessman. Together they had a son, Andre Michael, in February 1978. In 1989, Natalia Makarova returned to her home theater of the Kirov Ballet and was reunited with her family and with former colleagues and teachers, and family. Her emotional homecoming was documented in the film Makarova Returns. After her performance at the Kirov, she retired from dancing, donating her shoes and costumes to the Kirov Museum.
Today Makarova stages ballets such as Swan Lake, La Bayadère, and Sleeping Beauty for companies across the world. In addition to being an internationally renowned ballerina, Makarova won a Tony Award for her performance in the show On Your Toes.