Reviews of the Mariinsky Ballet in "Swan Lake."
California Literary Review
There have been far more distressing surgical alterations of Swan Lake over the decades, however, and the Mariinsky's production stands head and shoulders above the rest -- a model of refinement, attention to detail, musicality, and dramatic power. The lakeside Acts resonate with the muted tragedy of the ghostly swan-maidens, while the glory of Act III resides not just in the Black Swan pas de deux but in each and every folk dance, executed with impeccable style and clarity. Most of the dancers are a product of the Mariinsky's Vaganova Academy, and it shows in the way every movement ripples through the body, starting from the core to the tips of the fingers and feet; it shows in the remarkably pliant backs, and the regal bearing of the head and shoulders. But, above all, it shows in the dramatic impulse; Vaganova insisted that every movement be motivated by an underlying emotion. These dancers are conveying something to us with every step, every gesture, every tilt of the head -- not just dazzling us with technique.
The October 10 cast featured Ekaterina Kondaurova as Odette/Odile, and Danila Korsuntsev as Siegfried. Kondaurova’s Odile hit all the vixen-like poses and balances. She dispatched a labored 32 fouettés, singles and doubles, but her Odette was more troublesome. She has a lower body that is athletic and gives good attack, arms that are lithe and silken, but a back that can’t seem to place itself so as to reconcile the upper with the lower body. So, there are moments of visible strain and discordant movement. Korsuntsev is 38, but was chosen for the role of Siegfried because he is young looking. Yet, dramatically, there is a lack of commitment to the character of an indecisive prince being pushed out of the nest belatedly. Instead of choosing from a selection of lovely human aristocratic princess candidates, Siegfried sets his sights on a swan—or two. While the prince is indecisive, the dancer who plays him cannot afford to equivocate, let alone go agnostic.