Tiler Peck has been a New York City Ballet Principal Dancer since 2009 and it is surprising she has not tackled the iconic Odette/Odile role in Swan Lake until this season. Her debut Wednesday was a stunning success, filled with confidence, nuance, and technical firepower of an old hand in the role. Her dramatic timing and focus was impressive along with her expressiveness as she portrayed a frightened swan, bourreeing frantically upon encountering Prince Siegfried in the forest. In the Act I Lake Scene, her arm movements were beautiful, as they effortlessly flowed to the Tschaikovsky score. In Act II, she was a fiery seductress, overwhelming the Prince with her dazzling technique. Tiler was aggressive in her Act II solos, showing a reckless abandon on her double pirouette to a double turn in attitude (leg bent behind) sequence. She has great turning capabilities as shown in a video from Don Quixote at the Vail International Dance Festival below. Wednesday, her fouettés were stellar, starting with 10 doubles followed by single fouettés to finish the music. A great performance.
Chase Finlay was also impressive in his debut as Prince Siegfried, particularly on the dramatic side exerting great timing in his movements. Chase was believable as the handsome prince, tricked by the treacherous Odile, then showing great remorse to Odette. Chase was a strong partner, providing Tiler with robust support as the two had a close-knit bond. Like other NYCB male leads, Chase’s solos were serviceable but not distinguished. Chase knows his limitations and does not move out of his comfort zone as he simplified some of the steps in his solo. Most prominent was simple assembles rather than the customary double tours to arabesque in his second solo in Act II. His turns in second position (pirouette a la seconde) were simple, consisting of single turns in second position wrapped up with a triple pirouette.
Unlike ABT, curtain call bows at NYCB are rather perfunctory, without much drama. Wednesday was different after a great debut performance by the leads. The enthusiastic, packed crowd gave Tiler and Chase seven curtain calls in front of the curtain, the most I have ever seen at NYCB.
NYCB’s Swan Lake Wednesday was outstanding, with great work from the supporting cast. Troy Schumacher was high-flying as the Jester, with numerous impressive leaps and effortless four/five pirouettes. Unfortunately, he was replaced at the beginning of Act II with no reason given. Hope he is not injured. NYCB typically struggles in the Pas de Trois. Not on Wednesday as Erica Pereira, Brittany Pollack, and Joseph Gordon showed great gusto. In particular, Joseph displayed great control and confidence. I also enjoyed the Divertissement Pas de Quatre (Ashly Isaacs, Lauren King, Indiana Woodward, Anthony Huxley), which I typically find boring.