A few thoughts on the Saturday evening American Ballet Theatre Swan Lake with Misty Copeland and David Hallberg:
- It was a packed Metropolitan Opera house with few empty seats to see Misty and David. There were also a limited number of seats Friday for Devon Teuscher and Aran Bell demonstrating the popularity of Swan Lake.
- David’s solos were impressive, with his impeccable long legs and perfectly arched feet. He nailed his double tours and routinely did 3-4 pirouettes, although sometimes forced. He handled the tricky double tour to arabesque in his second Act II solo quite well. On his turns in second position, he alternated singles and doubles, finishing with a nice quadruple.
- Misty’s work was fine, but with little distinction. The steps were there but lacked any WOW! factor. As Odette, her beats and sissone jumps were low off the ground and lacked punch. Her Odile solo was an improvement; her double pirouettes to a single turn in attitude were well done along with her turn in second position to an arabesque. She nixed the standard fouettés in favor of a manége (circle) of chaîné turns and piqué turns, done with clarity starting from stage left. This was a wise substitution, given her struggles with fouettés.
- The partnering had rough edges, particularly a missed overhead lift in attitude after a supported turn in the Act II pas de deux. Misty and David improvised for a few counts to fill the music. In general, the chemistry between the two was lacking, understandable given they have never been paired in a full-length production before.
- Calvin Royal III was outstanding as Rothbart, showing considerable growth in the role over the years. He was confident, showing authority as he summarily dismissed the lovely princesses vying for Siegfried’s attention.
- Joo Won Ahn and Sung Woo Han were convincing in the Neapolitan, done with great flair.
ABT Casting: “A Team” Needed
ABT did not present the most potent lineup in the lead role of Odette/Odile in the iconic Swan Lake this season. For the eight performances, Misty, Hee Seo, and Devon Teuscher were in two performances each while Isabella Boylston and Christine Shevchenko had one each. Misty and Hee are not stellar technicians, but took up four out of the eight slots, leaving some talented dancers on the bench. Technically, my top five dancers for this role are:
Christine Shevchenko-1 performance
Devon Teuscher-2 performances
Skylar has not danced the role before, but given her exceptional technical skills and dramatic flair, it is a safe bet that her Odette/Odile would be outstanding. I saw Christine last year in her second performance in the role, and her work was memorable. Sarah danced Odette/Odile last year in a successful debut and stepped in at the last moment last Wednesday for the Odile segment as Misty was ill.
For ABT, the “A team” was not on the job last week.