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Swan Lake in Chicago

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I attended the 03/27 performance of Swan Lake w/ David Hallberg and Michele Wiles. (This was the truncated, "family friendly" performance.)

Overall, I was favorably impressed by ABT's version of Swan Lake. The corps was "together" (or at least much more so than what I was expecting given all the negative remarks I had read on this board) and the soloists performed well. I could have lived without some of the costumes (particularly on the male dancers) but it wasn't a major thing for me. And I kind of liked The Swamp Thing!

Anyway, on to what everyone wants to know -- Hallberg and Wiles. I may disappoint some people with what I'm about to say but I thought Hallberg far outperformed Wiles. Or, maybe a better way to put it is that he "outpresenced" her. They both danced absolutely correctly in a technical sense. It's just that you could feel his charisma all the way back to where I was sitting (about half way back on the main floor) and she didn't register in the same way. In fact, whenever they were together on stage, I found my eye drifting toward him instead of her because he was just SO charismatic. So, while the overall performance was fine, I did feel that a curious imbalance occurred where he was projecting up to the rafters (but not in a vulgar or clownish way) and she wasn't projecting much past the first few rows.

One more thing: The movie Weatherman with Nicolas Cage and Michael Caine was filming across the street from the Opera House that day. Since I got to the Opera House a little early, I found a nice vantage point to watch the filming while I waited -- which happened to be in front of the stage door. So, there was an added bonus of seeing various ABT dancers step outside for some fresh air or a cigarette break!

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Thanks to all for the reviews, especially from first-time posters. I, too, was hoping somebody had seen Veronika Part in Swan Lake. I saw her do the role when she was with the Kirov and found it very alluring and was hoping she would do it again in NY.

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I didn't think Part was scheduled to dance -- at least, she's not in the list in the first post of this thread. However, I do think that one performance had not yet been scheduled, so maybe she was assigned to that?

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Miliosr, thank you for the report!

I'm not suprised that Hallberg made more of an impression than Wiles. They're both wonderful, but IMO Odette/Odile is the most difficult role in all of ballet. Aside from technique, there are so many levels of the character that have to be thought out and conveyed to the audience in a cohesive manner. I've seen some great Odettes and I'm very demanding in my expectations when I go to see SL. Sometimes I have to remind myself that Fonteyn had already danced the role for 20 years before I saw her, and I think even Makarova had been dancing it for 5- 10 years before she came to the west. It's a role most ballerinas really need time to grow into.

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You're welcome nysusan!

I hope I didn't sound too harsh about Wiles. Her performance was fine -- it just paled in comparison to Hallberg's. Seeing him, I was reminded of (I think) Arlene Croce's comment about a dancer having "a center stage radiance that cannot be taught." Boy, does Hallberg have IT!

Edited by miliosr
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I just heard from a reliable source that yes, that TBA ABT Swan Lake in New York is going to be VERONICA PART'S!!!!!!!!!!

This now has been confirmed by the casting - Part and Gomes will do Swan Lake on June 15. :wink:

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What wonderful news, I'm thrilled to hear that she is being given this opportunity, but I'm also really upset that I have to be out of town that week & will miss both the Wiles/Hallberg and Part/Gomes Swan Lakes. Hopefully there will be lots of posts...

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