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Herrera's Swan

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After seeing McKenzie's 'Swan Lake' a few more times---I am more kindly disposed to it. I like the prologue, although I could do without the 'bird-in-hand' (better it should stay in the bush!) I also like the idea of the two von Rothbarts and especially like what he did in Act 3. Carlos Molina was masterful at this performance--I loved the way he ended his solo, by triumphantly sitting in the chair (next to the Queen Mother) and making himself comfortable in it. I also liked very much what McKenzie did with the Neopolitan Dance--expertly danced by Danny Tidwell and Sacha Radetsky. Now, if he can only do something with the other national dances.........

Herrera gave us a sweet, naive, vulnerable Odette. I was hoping for more. The performance lacked passion and depth. She has all the necessary requisites for the part---strong technique and beautiful line, but, for me, she was just one of the girls (Swans?). Her Odile was much more successful, relying on a brilliant technique can sum it up for most dancers of Odile.

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I liked Gomes' interpretation. He was a melancholy, Hamlet-like Prince. He also excelled in the lyric solo of Act 3 that is a beautiful addition to the Act. It is my favorite kind of male dancing---none of the usual virtuoso tricks. He also exhibited the emotional attachment to the part which I thought Herrera lacked.

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I second (third?) the impression that Herrera was detached as Odette (June 18 matinée). She was positively morose, but not enough morose to lend dramatic interest. Despite the lovely technique, I was not drawn to watching her. (In contrast, I couldn't keep my eyes off Ananiashvili in Don Q -- I know that's an unfair comparison, because the roles are so different, but there it is.) I agree also that her Odile was better. Perhaps it is easier to act happy and alluring than it is to act desperate.

Which brings up a new question: how should Odette act? What is her dominant emotion, her motivation?

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Sorrow mixed with hope in Act II, sorrow in Act IV.

The first lakeside scene is her first encounter with Siegfried. When she meets him, he's about to shoot part of her flock, so there's suspicion. He first needs to convince her that he won't do that. After that, there's her exposition of how she came to be in this state, and her misery in it. Siegfried and Odette grow together through and during the pas de deux and he swears eternal love to her. This is her first ray of hope to be released from von Rothbart's curse - she is hopeful, but von Rothbart comes to claim her again at the end of the act.

After the disaster at the ball we see Odette again at the lake. There is no hope any longer, Siegfried has failed and all is lost.

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But there are also moods that can be conveyed by slight changes in posture, through gesture, by using the music in a certain way. Any Odette can can explore these elements to indicate Odette's growing trust in Siegfried II and inability to rebuild that trust in IV, for example. I can't think of a narrative role that offers more opportunities for using the whole body to tell the story.

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The performance of "Swan Lake" I saw - the June 21st matinee -

was full of passion and depth of emotion. Irina Dvorvenko was

Odette/Odile. In the white acts, Dvorovenko showed clearly the

depth of her love for Siegfried. Her beautiful birdlike arms (how did she ever learn how to make her arms look so boneless?) and

flexible upper body showed clearly the despair she felt when von

Rothbart forced her to become a swan again at the end of Act II.

And talk about passion - in the Black Swan Pas de Deux Odile was

so seductively passionate that Siegfried had no choice but to reject Odette and ask for Odile's hand. Any red-blooded male would have acted the same.

I've never seen Herrera in "Swan Lake", but I wonder if she has the upper body flexibility to dance Odette well. Having seen Herrera in "Don Quixote" and "Le Corsaire" I imagine she'd be fantastic as Odile. Of course the challenge of "Swan Lake" is to convincingly become both Odette and Odile. Dvorovenko really did this. She fully inhabited both roles.

With regard to the famous fouettes in Act III, Dvorovenko did a series of fast singles, no doubles or triples as far as I could see. The question is why did I even notice this? Does it matter if a dancer does doubles or triples as opposed to singles? As far as I know, the point of the Black Swan Pas de Deux is for Odette to seduce Siegfried so completely that he forgets his vow to Odette. And Dvorovenko certainly accomplished that goal.

In the role of Siegfried, Maxim Belotserkovsy was perfect, both in his acting and his dancing. Every time I see him he just gets better and better. And the chemistry between Dvorovenko and Maxim B. is palatable. They're definitely on the way to having one of ballet's truly great partnerships.

I'd also like to add that I think I'm becoming used to McKenzie's

"Swan Lake". It's really not a bad production except for the brevity of Act IV. Von Rothbart's solo in Act III didn't bother me this time, due to the fact that it was danced so splendidly by Marcelo Gomes. He was so wickedly sexy. Sacha Radesky whom I thought was rather lackluster as the matador in "Don Quixote" was very good as Benno. He's really got a great leap - high with a very clean landing. But the afternoon really belonged to Dvorovenko. Her fantastic performance will stay very long in my mind's eye.

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Thanks for your reply, ATM.

Originally posted by Colleen Boresta I've never seen Herrera in "Swan Lake", but I wonder if she has the upper body flexibility to dance Odette well.
Paloma's problem in Swan Lake (now that I've seen her this year) is not lack of flexibility in the back. It is lack of conviction. I was amused during the Act II mime sequence to note that Siegfried believed her story more than did she herself. I enjoyed Marcelo on so many levels in this performance. Such beautiful line, such sensitive musicality, such gorgeous legs, such devoted partnering. . .

I was also amused in Act III to realize that Paloma was pulling off some fancy-schmancy fouettes -- multiples thrown in -- but I was barely aware (still replaying Marcelo in my mind). Ho-hum.

It would be unfair to say that it was a bad performance -- it wasn't. She is incredibly competent and looks beautiful on stage. She is taking more care in her presentation than she had in past seasons and is exploring the dramatic requirements of her roles. But she has yet to make them her own -- from the heart.

Other than Marcelo, tonight's finest dancing came from Lead Swan Monique. She was fighting very hard to suppress a smile, but her body radiated ecstasy, and that was irrepressible. What a treasure ABT has there! If only they would USE HER more, dammit!

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