I loved Tuesday’s Swan Lake performance with Polina Seminova and Marcelo Gomes, two performers at the height of the careers. While audience members witnessed two “finished products” that evening, Thursday’s Swan Lake featured two “works in progress”, 26-year old Soloist Isabella Boylston and 27-year old Daniil Simkin. Overall, I enjoyed their performance and interpretation, although there were rough edges that they should be able to polish over time.
Daniil is an explosive dancer capable of high leaps, prodigious turns, and circus like tricks. He toned down his bravura dancing and gave a nice introspective Act I solo with slow controlled turns (four in second position) and extensions as he contemplated his future bride. Daniil is not the most expressive dancer and generally had a slight grin throughout the party scene. When confronted with the Royal obligation to wed, he converted to a constant pensive look.
Isabella was animated as a frightened swan that encountered the Prince in the forest in Acto II, attempting to escape the Prince, flapping her arms to no avail. The Act II pas de deux was enjoyable, although somewhat shaky at times; the overhead lifts were the highlight of the pas de deux. Isabella’s solo was nice, although her ronde de jambe needed more articulation before extending her leg to a develope.
The Act III pas de deux was generally fine as Isabella was energetic throughout. The two did have a problem with one supported turn that was substantially off, almost causing Isabella to go off pointe.
Daniil was vigorous in his solo with double cabrioles derriere and very high double tours. He put substantial force into his pirouettes, which led to some shaky endings on some turns. He is capable of 6-7 turns when all goes well, but there isn’t much room for error with such force. I enjoyed Isabella’s smooth solo; she didn’t push things, sticking to a double pirouette with a single attitude turn. Isabella performed alternating single and double fouettés that had a nice stuck finish while Daniil did single turns a la seconde mixed with triple turns in second, finally pulling into four controlled turns to finish.
James Whiteside was the purple von Rothbart and showed charisma and energy, something lacking in Alexandre Hammoudi’s version Tuesday evening. Whiteside was both charming and evil, two necessary traits in this role.
Joseph Gorak excelled as Benno, Siegfried’s friend. His coupe grande jete menage (split jumps in a circle) drew applause in the first act. He was joined by Sarah Lane and Yuriko Kajiya in the Pas de Trois.
On a casting note, Cory Stearns will replace Marcelo in the Saturday matinee with Polina Semionova. Hee Seo and Roberto Bolle are scheduled to dance again Saturday evening. The two replaced Alina Cojocaru, who is injured, and Herman Cornejo Friday evening.