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Swan Lake


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#1 aurora

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 07:53 AM

So was anyone else at opening night of Swan Lake? No one has anything to say?

I have to say it left me a bit speechless.... :wink:

I would prefer to not say much until other people have said things...I am not familiar with this production, etc. but in a nutshell I think it is an inferior production.

The costumes are ugly and terribly mismatched (some are very modern, some pretty traditional and thus look like they wandered in from another production altogether, others are somewhere in between, more traditional in style but more modern in the patterning of the fabric), the scenery/sets, such as they are, are ugly and set no mood whatsoever.

But if the dancing is good, who cares, right?

Kowroski had the kind of night no dancer wants to have on stage, even if she is hidden in the back line of the corps. And she wasn't.
The only time she seemed to have any sort of emotion at all was in the final white act, and after the disaster of her black swan, I can believe her distress there was absolutely genuine.

Anyone else?

#2 britomart

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 09:02 AM

Oh no...

Don't leave us hanging. Please.


So was anyone else at opening night of Swan Lake? No one has anything to say?

I have to say it left me a bit speechless.... :wink:

I would prefer to not say much until other people have said things...I am not familiar with this production, etc. but in a nutshell I think it is an inferior production.

The costumes are ugly and terribly mismatched (some are very modern, some pretty traditional and thus look like they wandered in from another production altogether, others are somewhere in between, more traditional in style but more modern in the patterning of the fabric), the scenery/sets, such as they are, are ugly and set no mood whatsoever.

But if the dancing is good, who cares, right?

Kowroski had the kind of night no dancer wants to have on stage, even if she is hidden in the back line of the corps. And she wasn't.
The only time she seemed to have any sort of emotion at all was in the final white act, and after the disaster of her black swan, I can believe her distress there was absolutely genuine.

Anyone else?



#3 duffster

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 09:04 AM

I will agree that the costumes and sets are a bit strange for Swan Lake. I wonder what happened to Kowroski- I did not see this performance. Sometimes lack of rehearsal, nerves and other influences (behind the scenes) can effect your performance. Let's hope she just had a bad night, and will be back dancing as well as before.

#4 DeborahB

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 12:31 PM

So was anyone else at opening night of Swan Lake? No one has anything to say?

I have to say it left me a bit speechless.... :wink:

I would prefer to not say much until other people have said things...I am not familiar with this production, etc. but in a nutshell I think it is an inferior production.

The costumes are ugly and terribly mismatched (some are very modern, some pretty traditional and thus look like they wandered in from another production altogether, others are somewhere in between, more traditional in style but more modern in the patterning of the fabric), the scenery/sets, such as they are, are ugly and set no mood whatsoever.

But if the dancing is good, who cares, right?

Kowroski had the kind of night no dancer wants to have on stage, even if she is hidden in the back line of the corps. And she wasn't.
The only time she seemed to have any sort of emotion at all was in the final white act, and after the disaster of her black swan, I can believe her distress there was absolutely genuine.

Anyone else?


Interesting! It's hard for me to believe that Maria wasn't very good. I've rarely seen her not great in this role. However, she might have had an off-night. Also, in general NYCB dancers aren't "actors." They won't necessarily deliver the emotions the way that ABT will (or the Royal etc.). Like a lot of NYCB balletomanes, I really (only) care about the dancing, as the costumes and sets aren't what NYCB is about. That said, it would be NICE if the costumes and sets were great but.... For a full length story ballet (not my favorite kind of ballet),I don't mind Martins'
"Swan Lake." I'm seeing it tonight, Sat. afternoon and a couple more times. I like to see the different casts. Tonight is Ashley Bouder. Woo-hoo!

#5 carbro

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:00 PM

Also, in general NYCB dancers aren't "actors." They won't necessarily deliver the emotions the way that ABT will (or the Royal etc.).

Based on viewings of both NYCB and ABT in recent years, I think this generalization is outdated, if ever it was true. Sara Mearns' Lilac Fairy mime was so clear and conversational that a first-time balletgoer would have understood it. Compare that to Paloma Herrera's frequently blank performances in classical roles. Was there ever a more ardent, hopeful prince than Tyler Angle last week?

What Mearns and TAngle did, though, was tell their stories through the choreography, really using the music, subtly changing postures or epaulement, shading their timing. This, to me, is what communicating in ballet is all about, whether there is a story or not. What happens on the face (assuming that that's what you meant by "acting") is, to me, the frosting on the cake.

And some cakes are even best unfrosted. :-)

#6 DeborahB

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 01:18 PM

Also, in general NYCB dancers aren't "actors." They won't necessarily deliver the emotions the way that ABT will (or the Royal etc.).

Based on viewings of both NYCB and ABT in recent years, I think this generalization is outdated, if ever it was true. Sara Mearns' Lilac Fairy mime was so clear and conversational that a first-time balletgoer would have understood it. Compare that to Paloma Herrera's frequently blank performances in classical roles. Was there ever a more ardent, hopeful prince than Tyler Angle last week?

What Mearns and TAngle did, though, was tell their stories through the choreography, really using the music, subtly changing postures or epaulement, shading their timing. This, to me, is what communicating in ballet is all about, whether there is a story or not. What happens on the face (assuming that that's what you meant by "acting") is, to me, the frosting on the cake.

And some cakes are even best unfrosted. :-)


You may be right Carbro but NYCB isn't an "acting" company (although many dancers take acting lessons). Still, it's hard to talk about this b/c I wasn't there last night. In the past I've found Maria's Odette/Odile
excellent. And again, she may have been having an off night. And I respectully don't think it's an outdated opinion. What was Mr. B's famous quote? He advised his dancers to dance, not act (or actually not to think about it).

And just for the record I LOVE Paloma Herrera. If I want to see actors I'll go to the theatre (which I do a lot). I'm more interested in
great technique etc. -- that's why I fell in love with NYCB 30 plus years ago. And yes -- Tyler was wonderful but he was a bit sloppy (as much as I adore him) in his solos. At least in the first performance.

The best case scenario would include great dancing (footwork, technique etc.) and acting. But given a choice, I'll take the dancing.

I'm off the NYCB "Chat." Sara Mearns is talking about Swan Lake!! It should be wonderful.

#7 aurora

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 07:21 PM

Interesting! It's hard for me to believe that Maria wasn't very good. I've rarely seen her not great in this role. However, she might have had an off-night. Also, in general NYCB dancers aren't "actors." They won't necessarily deliver the emotions the way that ABT will (or the Royal etc.). Like a lot of NYCB balletomanes, I really (only) care about the dancing, as the costumes and sets aren't what NYCB is about. That said, it would be NICE if the costumes and sets were great but....


She really wasn't.

She certainly didn't act. There was no emotional connection at all between her and her prince as Odette. So much so that the story became unclear. And NYCB or not, it is a story ballet. And her Odile had no confidence, forget about whether you like a vampy portrayal or not, this was a timid one.

But that was not what I was even talking about, really.

In the first meeting of Odette and the prince, she slipped as he was about to lift her. I don't know if this shook her badly, it was certainly not something she seemed injured by, but he worked mightily to save her and not drop her. After that it was flub after flub. She would achieve a beautiful moment (some lovely balances here and there) and then after putting her foot down, have to check herself because she bobbled so badly.

When she started her fouettes I was concerned. She had seemed so off on everything leading up to them. The started off slow and cautious (there were never going to be 32) despite the fact the music was quite swift. But initially it seemed like she would get through them. Then she started veering downstage and to her right. Until she fell out of them completely. She stepped into an arabesque and then just... gave up... and walked over to stage left while the fouette music was still playing...

she was obviously shaken through a very slow series of pique turns. Her face as she stood downstage while Albert Evans talks to her was, well she just looked to me like she wanted to leave.

I like her. I don't mean to be mean. It was a really painful thing to watch. Maybe the critics saw something other than I did. I hope so for her sake.

#8 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 07:34 PM

I just came from tonight's SL.
It was my first time (and last one) at Mr Martins's SL.

I dont think is even worthy to comment such a horrendous production.
I dont recall anything that bad (prob because I havent seen his R + J).
I actually left after the first act ended, it was all I could take.

As much as I like Bouder (and she was the only reason I went), it was a huge disappointment as well.
A hysterical Odette, running from one corner of the stage to the other one, dancing at such speed that I could literally not believe my eyes.
Upper body as stiff as it can get, and port de bras, well, lets call it crazy, disorganized and also hysterical arm movements (bc thats not port de bras)
she had this electric movements that she seemed to repeat every few minutes, prob when she remembered that she was playing a swan.
emotion ? connection ? zero, this was just another non-story ballet performance, execute and continue...
her technique was still there..... maybe a good coaching will help.......dont really know.


The corp was something else too, 70-80% of these ladys were doing arabesques maybe at 10-15 degree angle, many actually barely care about lifting the leg at all
and the upper body mov was def one to remember.

The orchestra matched perfectly with the whole show, who knows what they were playing.

one funny thing was the way one of the ladies of the pas de trois, kicked her leg backwards 3 times in a row, as if we were in a kickboxing battle, pretty original.
a few others manage to do something similar in the corps.

somebody seating in my section dared to scream Bravi ! a few times, that def made the night for me !
I hope he is a dancer's family, otherwise.....

I could not stop thinking about the young people and the inexperienced audience (almost sold out house), is this the way they are going to be educated about such a legendary ballet ?
if there is a balanchine trust to make sure that Mr B's ballet are properly performed around the world, there should be a Petipa trust or similar to avoid aundiences such a pain !

I rarely come to nyc ballet because I have been educated in classic, story ballets.....my friends gave me a warning and i didnt listen...guess i deserved it.

Luckily I'll get to see Part's performance in the spring and will redeem myself

#9 papeetepatrick

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 07:57 PM

Classic Ballet--oh lord, I haven't seen it yet, but I think I know why someone once told me 'it has to be seen to be believed', if your (hilarious, if unfortunate) report is accurate (I have no reason to doubt it).

#10 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 08:05 PM

Classic Ballet--oh lord, I haven't seen it yet, but I think I know why someone once told me 'it has to be seen to be believed', if your (hilarious, if unfortunate) report is accurate (I have no reason to doubt it).



papeetepatrick, whoever told you that described exactly, literally, what I felt, beleive me, my report barely described what I witnessed tonight.
I didnt talk about the customs and the sets, they are out of this world !
My favorite was prob the Prince outfit (it is kind of similar to abt's napolitans, just to give u an idea)
Lady Gaga should also come and take a look at the Queen's dress, it will give her a lot of new ideas

i am going to add another remarkable moment that came to my mind:
at the end of Act II (Act I in this production), whe Odette is saying good bye to the prince while he is kneeling on the stage, in the last moment, when bouder was in arabesque penche,
she hugged the price, literally, arms around his body, as when you hug your buddy/friend in the street (including small movements to the sides typical of this hugging), then she stepped back, doing a weird movements (head included) which to me were like screaming, Help ! Get me out of here !, and then she left.

I am in my 30s, and I have been attending to ballet since i am maybe like 12-13yo.
As far as I recall, I saw one performance by a very small company, like small town performance, not too serious, that prob came close to this.
if you want to experience something pretty unique, i encourage you to go, u wont ever forget it.

#11 DeborahB

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 09:49 PM

Some observations from tonight. And yes -- I think this version of SL is getting a bad rap (which it doesn't deserve).
I thought the costumes -- particulary the tutus -- were lovely. At the chat tonight, with Sara Mearns, Jared Angle
and Marc Happel (Director of Costumes), they not only showed some of the costumes, but talked about them.
The tutus, in particular, are stunning (they almost look like they have been needlepointed).

I thought the sets were fine. Nothing to write home about but perfectly adequate.
The ballet moved briskly -- I like that though.

Many parts of Martins' choreography were very nice. The second act, with all of the diversions, could have come out of
Nutcracker or Sleeping Beauty (lots of "acts.") However, the dancers all did a fine job and it was entertaining.

Ashley Bouder (Odette/Odile) was so brilliant that words fail me. Ben Milliepied (Siegrfred) looked the best that I've seen him in years.
He solos were exceptional. I really liked Sean Suozzi (he's having a great season!) as Benno. Troy Schumacher as the Jester was
fantastic (literally. Bravo!).

Interesting enough the "Russian Dance" with Yvonne Borre and Sebastien Marcovici was quite good. Yvonne was lovely. I enjoyed Kaitlyn Gilliland and Ask La Cour in the Hungarian Dance, and the Divertissement Pas De Quartre with Sterling, Katie, Ana Sophia and Gonazalo was suburb.
Gonazalo, in parrticular, has really come into his own.

The corps looked great. Loved Ashley Laracey and Lauren King's Pas De Trois with Sean Suozzi. Erica Pereira and Anthony Huxley were very good in Nepolitan. I also adored Savannah Lowery with Craig Hall, and the alway sunny Gwyneth Muller with (one of my fav. corps members),
Christian Tworzyanski (he should be a soloist).

The house was packed again. People may not love (some/all) Martins' ballets but he fills seats. And honestly, I think this is a very pleasant version of this ballet. I'll be seeing it 3 more times.

I also urge folks to attend some of these chats. It was so much fun to hear what the stunning beautiful Sara Mearns, and the handsome and very funny Jared Angle had to say about Swan Lake (they both love to dance it).

I thought the orchestra did a good job playing the score. I choked up more than once (that music is to die for. It never gets old).

The final kudo goes to Henry Seth as Von Rotbart. It's always bothered me that he never made it out of the corps. He should have (his technique and lines are quite good). And as an actor (since we were talking about this earlier) he has no peer at NYCB. He was
Oscar/Emmy worthy tonight.

#12 DeborahB

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:04 PM

I just came from tonight's SL.
It was my first time (and last one) at Mr Martins's SL.

I dont think is even worthy to comment such a horrendous production.
I dont recall anything that bad (prob because I havent seen his R + J).
I actually left after the first act ended, it was all I could take.

As much as I like Bouder (and she was the only reason I went), it was a huge disappointment as well.
A hysterical Odette, running from one corner of the stage to the other one, dancing at such speed that I could literally not believe my eyes.
Upper body as stiff as it can get, and port de bras, well, lets call it crazy, disorganized and also hysterical arm movements (bc thats not port de bras)
she had this electric movements that she seemed to repeat every few minutes, prob when she remembered that she was playing a swan.
emotion ? connection ? zero, this was just another non-story ballet performance, execute and continue...
her technique was still there..... maybe a good coaching will help.......dont really know.


The corp was something else too, 70-80% of these ladys were doing arabesques maybe at 10-15 degree angle, many actually barely care about lifting the leg at all

Classic Ballet. I've been attending both NYCB, ABT, and the Royal (as well as the Kirov) for more than 30 years. I don't agree with you at all.
Also, I studied ballet (not as a dancer) and I'm not sure what you were seeing. Still -- to each his own. And for the record -- my record -- the corp was excellent tonight (they are known as woman, not ladies. Sometimes "girls"). Odette (Ashley) hysterical? Now really. Not true at all.
Sorry you were terribly disappointed but there are some of us -- who actually do know ballet too (as you do) -- that thought it was a good evening (again, I dont' love Martins' choreography but in this case I thought it was pretty decent).
and the upper body mov was def one to remember.

The orchestra matched perfectly with the whole show, who knows what they were playing.

one funny thing was the way one of the ladies of the pas de trois, kicked her leg backwards 3 times in a row, as if we were in a kickboxing battle, pretty original.
a few others manage to do something similar in the corps.

somebody seating in my section dared to scream Bravi ! a few times, that def made the night for me !
I hope he is a dancer's family, otherwise.....

I could not stop thinking about the young people and the inexperienced audience (almost sold out house), is this the way they are going to be educated about such a legendary ballet ?
if there is a balanchine trust to make sure that Mr B's ballet are properly performed around the world, there should be a Petipa trust or similar to avoid aundiences such a pain !

I rarely come to nyc ballet because I have been educated in classic, story ballets.....my friends gave me a warning and i didnt listen...guess i deserved it.

Luckily I'll get to see Part's performance in the spring and will redeem myself



I don't agree with you at all. The corps did a fine job (they are women or girls, not "ladies"). I too am educated in ballet (not as a dancer but as a historian). I've been attending NYCB, ABT, The Royal and the Kirov for 30 years. I do have a frame of reference.

Ashley Bouder/Odette was not "hysterical" in the least. And this is Martins' version of SL, not someone else's. I get that you may not like his version, but to put the entire production down -- including the dancers -- just seems off-base.

#13 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:08 PM

DeborahB, glad u enjot it.
truly, if u have seen Kirov for 30 yrs, abt, royal, its hard to understand, but everyone is entitle t have their own opinion.
have fun

and just to clarify with the ladies and women thing, i didnt mean to be disrespectful whatsoever
same as i respect that u enjoy it, accept that a lot of other people, dont.

#14 DeborahB

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:18 PM

DeborahB, glad u enjot it, good for u
truly, if u have seen Kirov for 30 yrs, abt, royal, its hard to understand, but everyone is entitle t have their own opinion.
have fun

and just to clarify with the ladies and women thing, i didnt mean to be disrespectful whatsoever
same as i respect that u enjoy it, accept that a lot of other people, dont.



Women in ballet are not called, "Ladies."
And I respect everyone's opinions. For all I know the critics may hate this version.

As far as I can tell, not many Ballet Talkers have seen "Swan Lake" yet so it's presumptious to say that " a lot of other people dont" (sic).

I have nothing else to say on this subject. However, I take exception at your saying "good for u" (it seemed rude to me).

#15 Classic_Ballet

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Posted 11 February 2010 - 10:24 PM

I do know quite a few people who actually know about ballet more than me, and not even 1 of them, like this production.
but anyway, the point is not to get into an argument here or anything.
if u felt offended, sorry about that, again, not my intention.
and beleive me, i wish i wd have liked, there is nothing that i hate more that wasting time (and on top, paying for it)


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