This production was a total pleasure and I was impressed with the quality of the production. Kudos for a third time viewing of a Boca Ballet Theatre production. (I saw the Mariinsky do Swan Lake in January and do not want to draw any comparisons, since we’re playing in a totally different league here, not to mention that my Mariinsky ticket didn’t sell for $35) The Boca Ballet dancers were of all sizes, styles and talent levels, but gave a cohesive, well rehearsed performance overall. Ariel Soto, guest from the Cuban Classical Ballet, was a Benno with a great jump and stage presence.
Seeing Sara Mearns for the first time live was a delight, particularly from the sixth row in a small theatre. She’s a gorgeous dancer and any minor flaws were the result of partnering problems – understandable when dancers meet up shortly before a guest appearance. Simon Ball was a competent, if unremarkable, partner. He cuts a pleasant figure, but lacks elevation. I’ve never seen him before and in younger years, perhaps he had it, though you also have to consider the limiting effect of a small stage. The audience felt pretty much as I did – polite applause for Ball, very enthusiastic for Mearns.
Mearns transition from Odette to Odile was magnificent, with much of the personality transformation communicated with flashing eyes. Her fouettes traveled a bit, but given her incredible Balanchine style speed, who would care? No, she doesn’t have those Russian swan arms, but nevertheless, I can’t imagine any NYCB dancer delivering a more gorgeous, nuanced Odette than Mearns.