BWW Reviews: Los Angeles Ballet Presents SWAN LAKE to Open its 2014/2015 Season
The Los Angeles Ballet opened its 2014/2015 Season with the beloved classic SWAN LAKE on Saturday, October 4 at 7:30 pm at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center located at 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Redondo Beach, CA 90278. The four-act production is choreographed by husband-and-wife Artistic Directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary after Petipa & Ivanov. The season continues with THE NUTCRACKER during the holiday season and THE SLEEPING BEAUTY in February/March 2015, plus a director's choice (to be announced) in May/June 2015.
A classic bipolar drama of joy and tragedy set to Tchaikovsky's sweeping score (unfortunately recorded rather than with a live orchestra), the success of SWAN LAKE depends on its Odette/Odile, the sweetly vulnerable white swan/cunningly malevolent black swan. While dancers may switch roles in future performances, on opening night the miraculous Allynne Noelle captivated with fragile, fluttering arms and superb footwork of the white swan to perfection. Ulrik Birkkjaer's Prince Siegfried lifts appeared so fluid, you would think Noelle was as light as a feather. However, there was not much menace to her black swan in Act III, but that was easy to forgive given her exquisite dancing.
There are many standout dancers in the company and I wonder why none of the men in the ensemble took part in the curtain call after the performance ended. Certainly Robert Mulvey as the Jester deserved a round of applause for his splashy split kicks as well as the many bits of humor he added to the show, always an audience pleaser! And with so many men in the ensemble playing so many different roles, they certainly deserved recognition at the end of the show. Especially notable was Christopher McDaniel (with Chloé Sherman) as a Neapolitan, floating on air and spinning at breathtaking speed.
The lovely Pas De Trois in Act I, performed with perfect precision by Allyssa Bross, Julia Cinquemani, and Christopher Revels, was a precursor to the lovely Dance of The Cygnettes in Act II by Bianca Bulle, Alyssa Harrington, Chloé Sherman and Sophie Silna, four beautiful dancers representing unadulterated femininity while moving as one.
The villainous Von Rothbart, as played by Zheng Hua Li, was all cape and very little dancing unfortunately, as his sweeping movements were mesmerizing. There was never any doubt when Li was onstage that evil lurked nearby. And of course the lovely white swan ballet de corps adds an air of magic to the lovely fog-filled forest set courtesy of the Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Artistic Director Colleen Neary added the air of nobility to the Queen Mother with incredibly elegant costumes courtesy of the Oregon Ballet Theatre. In fact the all costumes, from the muted pastels of the villagers in Act I to the rich burgundy and black courtiers in Act III, and all the lovely white swans added just the right atmosphere in each scene.
Experience the abiding tale of a swan queen, a prince, an evil spell and an eternal love with your whole family as this is the perfect production to introduce young ones to the magic of ballet with so many young children in the cast playing village girls and attendants to the Queen.
Upcoming Los Angeles Ballet SWAN LAKE performances.Valley Performing Arts Center Sun, Oct. 12, 2:00 pm
Royce Hall UCLA Fri, Oct. 17, 7:30 pm
Royce Hall UCLA Sat, Oct. 18, 7:30 pm
Alex Theatre Sat, Nov. 1, 7:30 pm
For tickets and information, please visit
Kenta Shimizu and Allynne Noelle
Allynne Noelle - Photocomposition by Reed Hutchinson and Catherine Kanner
Kenta Shimizu and Allynne Noelle