BWW Review: American Ballet Theatre's SWAN LAKE is a Swimming Success
If ever someone were to look up "classical ballet" in the dictionary, an image captured from Swan Lake would certainly accompany its definition, thanks to its timeless grace and poise. On Wednesday June 14, 2017, American Ballet Theatre more than lived up to Swan Lake's storied reputation, as the company danced with both precision and pixie dust to create lyrical beauty that echoed Tchaikovsky's magical score.
After the Prologue cast a dizzying spell, the stage was doused in rich jewel tones for the prince's birthday party. With a lively corps de ballet shuffling to and fro, a majestic Marcelo Gomes as Prince Siegfried appeared as if bathed in a radiant light. In perhaps the best physical condition of his entire career, Gomes was a vision, his presence captivating every single second as he carved through the space. Aside from his perfect technique and sustained pirouettes, it's his fluid balance, suspending through time and space to create moments of ingenuity that makes him stand apart from the rest.
As Gomes ventured into the woods to find solace, a bevy of beautiful swans emerged with quiet defiance, led by their queen, Hee Seo, as Odette, replacing an injured Gillian Murphy. Imbued with easy facilities, Seo embodies quiet power, her supple limbs and waiflike figure creating swirling lines and memorable curves through the air. As Gomes came to dance with her, the two captured a sentimental sweetness and innocence, which often goes forgotten in our modern world.
And yet, all of that changed in the best way at the start of Act III in the great hall. The drama unfolded as von Rothbart appeared on the scene, introducing partygoers to his daughter, Odile. This time, Seo - dancing the iconic dual role of Odette/Odile - was edgy, sharp, and biting, as she bourréed with cutting intent and determination. Gomes matched her intensity, but offered a more subtle approach, lending her the steadfast guidance and support she deserved. The only time Seo showed her humanity was during the Black Swan variation, where a repeated series of pirouettes tripped up her stability.
But it didn't matter. The culmination of the entire ballet was something that transcended logic and human error. It was something of fairy tales and beauty, and it will continue to impress upon my memory for years to come.
Photo Credit: Gene Schiavone