ABT Swan Lake Review, June 28


Hee Seo and Roberto Bolle, Click for more photos.

There were a number of Swan Lake cast changes due to injuries in the past week. Alina Cojocaru was originally scheduled for Friday with Herman Cornejo, but dropped out due to an injury (she was also scheduled to dance in Swan Lake last year, but was replaced by Maria Kochetkova). Hee Seo and Roberto Bolle danced in their place Friday and also their regularly scheduled Saturday evening slot, leading to tough back-to-back performances. I think it is strange that Veronika Part was not cast to fill in; she only danced the Wednesday matinee, which received rave reviews. It seems strange that one of the best interpreters of the role is relegated to matinee duty and not used more when injuries hit.

I enjoyed Hee’s Cinderella and was impressed with her Swan Lake performances Friday and Saturday. With her long arms and supple back, she has an ideal body type for the role. I particularly enjoyed her work in Act II when she portrayed a frail, intimidated swan when encountering Prince Siegfried (Roberto Bolle) in the forest. I liked 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 had difficulty on her fouettés both nights as she traveled downstage on her singles; at the end, she couldn’t pull in for the final pirouettes and improvised an off balance single turn.

At age 39, 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 Friday solos were solid, opening 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 (maybe triples) to a controlled triple pirouette.

I always love taking photos of Roberto in curtain calls after the performance. He is the best as he always has a nice relaxed smile and acknowledges all parts of the house. It is impossible to take a bad photo of Roberto. He should give lessons to other dancers on how to bow during curtain calls.

I liked Jared Matthews in the Pas de Trois Friday. He has nice entrechat six, with an exaggerated separation on the last beat. After a double tour, he added an extra single pirouette to a double tour to the knee at the end of his solo. Luis Ribagorda danced the same role Saturday and displayed a nice double cabriole diagonal with great leg separation. Isabelle Boylston excelled in her beat section with nicely articulated entrechat six.

The week seems to be a commercial success as the Met was packed Friday and Saturday evenings. It was so packed that the Men’s Room had a line during intermission.


James Whiteside as von Rothbart. Click for more photos.

The current ABT Swan Lake version, which debuted in 2000, never got any love from critics and is getting stale. As I mentioned in my 2013 year in review, I am hoping for a new Ratmansky version. However, he will be busy in 2015 with a much-needed new Sleeping Beauty version. Hopefully Swan Lake is on his to do list. He was open to the idea in a Dancelines interview in 2013:

Question: “You’ve choreographed your own interpretations of many great classics, among them The Nutcracker. Would you ever tackle the two pinnacles of the classical repertoire, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty?

Ratmansky: At the beginning I would say I never wanted to touch these, but now I feel that I would actually do that. There are plans yes, but it’s too early to talk about it.”

Take a look at Marina Harss’ revieview at Dance Tabs for more commentary on current version Swan Lake fatigue.