Swan Laked Out

Going to 4 showings in 4 days (Wed, Fri, Sat afternoon, and Sat evening) was a bit excessive. It’s pretty exhausting trekking to SF and back, and the double header pretty much takes up 12 hours all told. But it was pretty awesome to not think about all this homework that I now have backlogged.

I think the headdresses don’t look quite so bad with multiple viewings. The Odile one still looks a little strange, almost mannish, but it kind of works. The backdrops don’t seem quite so bad with multiple viewings as well.

The 4 cygnets were pretty much spot on in all 4 showings. That type of uniformity is actually a little disturbing if you think about it, which is why I try not to. Elana Altman is still pretty much amazing whenever she’s on stage. I’d be a little surprised if she’s not promoted to principal soon. Frances Chung was kind of show-offy in her solo in the Act I pas de trois, which seemed out of place.

In terms of the principal role, I think Tina LeBlanc was the best Odette. Neither Lorena Feijoo nor Vanessa Zahorian really seemed to capture the essential swan-like essence of Odette, though this might just be interpretations of the role. Maria Kochetkova definitely was the most technically brilliant, and definitely graceful, but in parts seemed to veer out of character (I think she’ll be unstoppable after she’s mastered the acting/emotionality part of dancing, but that’s generally the part lacking in the younger dancers). For Odile, I think Vanessa Zahorian was best; her Odile just seemed so sadistic. LeBlanc’s I would rank second, not too far behind.

Zahorian was the only one who did triple pirouettes during the fouettes, but seemed slightly out of balance when doing them. Feijoo and Kochetkova did doubles, and Kochetkova’s were exquisitely clean. LeBlanc did the “standard” package, which I admit I’m beginning to appreciate a lot more over the “embellishments,” which add virtuosity but detract from the hypnotic nature of the fouttes passage.

Not too many mishaps in the performances. I only saw a corps member fall in an Act I, but I overheard someone saying that one of the swans fell down in one of the Act IIs.

So I didn’t get to see Yuan Yuan Tan or Sarah Van Patten in the Odette/Odile role. I’ve heard good things about their performances. Come to think of it, Van Patten would probably dance a great Odile, although with her level of intensity, I don’t know how she would express the vulnerability of Odette. For Tan, I would think the opposite: infintely graceful, but lacking that evilness.

Since LeBlanc is retiring after this season, this was her last performance in a full length ballet. It was kind of sad, but I think that emotionality showed through during the performance. I think I saw her mouth “it was fun” at the end when she got her standing ovation.