Oklahoma City Ballet Presents SWAN LAKE, Now thru 4/21

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For the first time in its 41-year history, the Oklahoma City Ballet will present a full-length production of Swan Lake, widely considered among the most technically and emotionally challenging classical ballets of all time.

There will be three performances: 8 p.m. tonight, April 19; 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 20; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 21 at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma City Philharmonic will perform Tchaikovsky's famous score live, conducted by Maestro Joel Levine.

"This is a milestone moment for the performing arts in Oklahoma City," Levine said. "Swan Lakeisn't just a ballet, it is the ballet. The production is a 'must see' for OKC; it is a big step forward, and it's very exciting."

"The story of Swan Lake is all about transformation," Artistic Director Robert Mills said. "The Oklahoma City Ballet has transformed over the past five years into a company capable of honoring the high art and transcendent power of this important ballet. Everyone who loves the performing arts should see Swan Lake at least once in their lifetime. The time is now for ballet in Oklahoma City."

The ballet will be performed in two acts rather than the more traditional four-act version, an adaptation Artistic Director Robert Mills said is a trend among ballet companies because it makes the ballet more accessible to modern audiences. Most all of the iconic moments and dances in the ballet will remain.

Preparations for the historic production began more than a year ago and evolved into a regional effort.

Oklahoma City Ballet dancers Miki Kawamura and Yui Sato will dance the lead roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried at the Friday evening opening night performance, and soloists from the Houston Ballet, Nao Kusuzaki and Christopher Coomer, will perform the lead roles in the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances.

The Oklahoma City Ballet company includes 26 dancers representing six countries and 10 states in the U.S., including three dancers from Oklahoma.

The ballet will feature beautiful sets and costumes including Prince Siegfried's palace interior and the moonlit lakeside. The palace scenes will be staged by Artistic Director Robert Mills and Ballet Master Jacob Sparso, inspired by the original choreography of Marius Petipa.

The "white acts" will be staged by guest repetiteur Lisa Moon, using the original choreography of Lev Ivanov.

Synopsis: While hunting, Prince Siegfried sees an amazing swan. As he takes aim to shoot, the swan turns into a beautiful woman. The woman, Odette, tells the prince that she is a princess who has come under the spell of an evil sorcerer. During the day she must be a swan and swim in a lake of tears. At night she is allowed to be a human again. The spell can only be broken if a virgin prince swears eternal fidelity to her. She tells Prince Siegfried that if he refuses her she must remain a swan forever.

Prince Siegfried falls madly in love with Odette. However, through a spell by the evil sorcerer, he accidentally proposes to another woman at a party, believing that the woman is really Odette. Princess Odette feels doomed. She threatens to kill herself and throws herself into the lake. The Prince feels terribly sorry and throws himself into the lake with her. In an incredibly touching moment, the two are transformed into lovers in the afterlife.

Family Activities & Education

Pre-performance Saturday - At 7:15 p.m. Lecture on the historical significance of Swan Lake in the South Lobby.

Pre-performance Sunday - At 1 p.m. Hear the fable of Swan Lake while learning the art of pantomime (storytelling through movement).

Post-performance Sunday - There will be a 'Meet and Greet' with the dancers directly following the Sunday matinee performance. Refreshments provided by Braum's.

Individual ticket prices range from $33 to $55 depending on section. Tickets can be purchased online at okcballet.com, by phone at 405.848.TOES (8637) or the Civic Center Box Office at 405-297-2264

Founded in 1972, the Oklahoma City Ballet boasts 26 dancers from around the world. It is the resident dance company of the Civic Center Music Hall and tours as part of the Oklahoma Arts Council's touring program, the Mid-America Arts Alliance, and the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Touring Program. It is the only U.S. ballet company of its size to regularly debut world premier full-length ballets with original commissioned scores and new works from the industry's leading choreographers.

Pictured: Miki Kawamura as White Swan