American Ballet Theatre’s youth movement continued Wednesday afternoon with Devon Teuscher’s Met debut in Swan Lake. This was her third time in the role, having danced the role two times at the Kennedy Center in January. The Soloist showed substantial maturity, navigating the treacherous role with great authority. Her Odette portrayal exhibited great emotion and feeling; each movement had a purpose, a story to tell she as was believable from the start as a frightened swan encountering Prince Siegfried, protecting her flock. As Odile, she was a seductress, playing with the Prince with a look of smug satisfaction. You wouldn’t know that it was only her third performance in the role given the many nuanced movements she employed to convey meaning to the role.
Devon’s solid technique and ample turning skills allowed her to tackle the role with confidence. ABT’s Instagram post below shows her great turning ability with a triple pirouette to a triple turn in attitude (leg bent in back), a very difficult step. The Odile solo consists of this step done two times consecutively. Her first attempt was done flawlessly, with great upper body carriage, rigid arms in front with leg in perfect retiré position. On her second, she was unable to complete the attitude turn and stepped down before going to an attitude position in plié. Although not performed as Devon intended, she was able to cover it up well. My dance teacher would tell her students, all dancers make mistakes, but the great ones cover up their flaws. For her fouetté turn section, she did 10 consecutive double pirouettes, followed by singles, ending up with a triple pirouette. Many dancers alternate between single and double pirouettes. Doing consecutive doubles is very difficult because there is no “rest” turn before the double. A very impressive Met debut from Devon, showing great potential.
Unfortunately, her Price Siegfried, Alexandre Hammoudi was not up to her lofty standard. He had a number of issues: the ending part of his steps had rough edges, not smooth; his grand jetés had a forced quality, not effortless as when done properly; his turns in second position were off kilter; while Devon was expressive, Alex was more subdued, placid at times.
His partnering of Devon was solid at times, particularly on supported turns. There were several instances in which he righted her during her turns without killing her momentum, allowing her to complete numerous turns. The two did have one botched lift, an attitude overhead. Instead of holding her in the air, she came down and they did several turns to fill the music.
Overall, a performance that fell short of the mark from Alex.
Calvin Royal III was devious as Rothbart, displaying nice technique throughout. He interacted with the audience with “knowing” looks during his solo, much like Marcelo Gomes, who owns the role. Zhiyao Zhang was impressive in the Pas de Trois with high double tours in both directions in his solos and controlled turns.