Hee Seo and Roberto Bolle were leads in Swan Lake Saturday evening. I am familiar with their work as I saw the pair twice last year as Hee filled in for injured dancers. Same situation this year as Polinia Semionova was originally scheduled.
I like Hee’s Odette and think it is her strongest full-length role at ABT. With her long arms and supple back, she has an ideal body type for the role. Like last year, I particularly enjoyed her work in Act II when she portrayed a frail, intimidated swan when encountering Prince Siegfried in the forest. Impressive was her aggressive dive to a deep penche after supported turns and her entrechat posse segment with flowing arms. Technically, her dancing was good in the Act III pas de deux, but she was too reserved and needed more energy. I always liked Irina Dvorovenko’s Odile, confident, even cocky as she seduces the Prince. Hee improved in her fouettés over last year, inserting a few doubles; however after her doubles, she traveled downstage right as last year, but finished up well with a nice double pirouette.
At age 40, Roberto still has it, dancing Prince Siegfried with great confidence and gusto. He is always a great partner, sturdy as a rock in big lifts and supported turns. His first solo opened with double sauté de basques, and including triple pirouettes, double tours with arms in fifth position (overhead). His major turn section consisted of single turns in second with alternating doubles to a triple pirouette. Overall, I thought he was more controlled last year, particularly on the tours to arabesque in a diagonal and tours with arms in fifth position.
The incomparable Marcelo Gomes was the purple Rothbart. HIs stage presence is powerful as he exudes dominance whenever onstage. I can’t think of many dancers with the raw charisma that he possesses. He adds a number of small nuances that make a big difference, like tapping his fingers in boresome when on the throne. The audience laughed on several occasions as the egotistical Rothbart dismissed several of the young maidens with supreme indifference.
Blaine Hovern was effective in the Pas de Trois with nice, controlled pirouettes, on some extending to five. Stella Abrera was good, with effortless flowing arms and nice, articulated entrechat six and assemble six.
The corps was on the mark Saturday; from my lofty perch in Act I, they appeared to move in unison. I was particularly impressed the two lead swans Christine Shevchenko and Katherine Williams who appeared to dance as mirror images on opposite sides of the stage.