I had never seen Swan Lake before, so I didn’t have any expectations, as opposed to the numerous versions of the Nutcracker I have seen. I also have never performed in it, so I don’t really know the story, other than the brief synopsis that I have read on the back of my CD. It is absolutely beautiful though. The overture begins with an evil sorceror putting a spell on a beautiful girl… The ballet actually begins at the Prince’s birthday party, which was absolutely beautiful. The costumes were so amazing and intricate. It had the same sort of pomp and circumstance that Romeo and Juliet had, but it lacked the playful demeanor. (Different ballets, I know.)
The scene at the lake was absolutely breathtaking. The sets were incredible, but the dancing was superb. I honestly think that ABT passes NYCB in terms of technique, though NYCB had the effortlessly soaring leaps over ABT. The corp dancers of ABT were so in synch, so in unison… it was so beautiful. Again, the costumes were awe inspiring. Who dreams this stuff up?? It was so incredible to be so close to Ethan Stiefel. For those of you who don’t know, he plays the cocky professional dancer in Center Stage… and there’s something about seeing a movie that you think, “How many takes did it take for them to shoot that perfectly?” No pretense here… he really is that incredible of a dancer. Paloma Herrera was the MOST incredible Odette/Odile… her arms were so fluid. Just amazing. Gillian Murphy, Julie Kent.. all the greats… they really are that great. It is humbling to be so close to such great-ness and beauty.
After intermission, we are back at the palace with the character dances… which were all fun to watch. The scene with Odile was enchanting. The costumes were all so lovely—beautiful pastels that just seemed to float. There were a few incredible pyrotechnics that added to the whole show, but the first three acts were definitely my favorite. The final scene by the lake went quickly and the ending when the Prince and Odette are reunited after death was absolutely lovely, due to the set design.
All in all, a lovely way to spend a Saturday night in LA. I’m so glad I didn’t miss it..