Sunday, June 01, 2008

Swan Lake

Now that Wendy and I have been attending the ballet somewhat regularly for a year we've actually gotten to the point where we occasionally choose what day to attend based on who is dancing rather than which day is most convenient to us. We'd never seen Veronika Part dance before but we wanted to see David Hallberg and I'd heard nice things about Part in Swan Lake so it seemed like a good choice. Then, a couple days ago, we read a review in the New York Times in which Macauley's comments about Hallberg could safely be described as rapturous, so that was nice.

We went to a Saturday matinee so of course the family circle was stuffed to the gills with kids. I was a bit worried but it was actually probably the least obnoxious ballet audience--quiet and complaint free--I've been a part of in the last year or so. Lively, of course. During the Black Swan pas de deux one little girl was dancing along, bopping up and down in her seat (she was sitting somewhere where this didn't block anyone's view). It was nice to see people so enthused.

Anyway, about the dancing . . . Hallberg was wonderful, as expected. He seems so easy and natural; his body always looking like it just belongs in whatever position it's in at a particular movement. Part isn't exciting the way Diana Vishneva is, particularly as Odile, but she's an exceptionally beautiful dancer and in terms of line and movement seemed a good match for Hallberg. (As a side note, I also enjoy how non-stick-like she looks.) I enjoyed both her very stately and dignified swan queen--as Odette she was distinctive and really seemed to capture the mood of the music--and her openly malicious seductress. The fouettes seemed less climactic then they have when I've seen them previously but the full portrait she created was marvelous.

I wish the final act wasn't so rushed feeling in comparison to the others. Then again, that's certainly not a new complaint and overall it was a very nice afternoon at the ballet.

Pictures stolen from the websites of the New York Times and ABT.

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