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Ballet Review: Kirov Shows Off Tchaikovsky...s Masterpiece

Swan Lake at the Wang Theatre

By Tina Ro

Swan Lake

Kirov Ballet and Orchestra

Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006, 8 p.m.

The Wang Theater

Crowds dressed in sequined tops, pearls, and spiffy neckwear lined up to to watch the Kirov Ballet’s Saturday night performance of the classic Swan Lake. The Kirov — one of Russia’s two major ballet companies along with the Bolshoi — featured Alina Somova as Odette/Odile and Igor Kolb as Prince Siegfried.

Marius Petipa’s and Lev Ivanov’s original choreography to Tchaikovsky’s timeless score resulted in a fine performance. In the fairy tale story, Prince Siegfried falls in love with Odette, a queen who has been transformed into a swan by Rothbart the evil sorcerer. The spell is broken when Prince Siegfried rescues Odette with his undying love. Somova, as Odette and Odile, played her character as a true prima ballerina — full of poise and grace. The lovers danced with such connected and natural movements that their unity and love were visually depicted through their lucidity and harmony.

However, Swan Lake provided the audience with much more than just a love story. The elaborate scenery, from the forest to the castle, created a three dimensional effect. On the side, fully costumed extras remained on stage; their presence helped establish the scene. The little details, such as the dancers dancing with golden goblets at a celebration, added the something extra that makes a show great.

The swans wore traditional white tutus. By contrast, the evil sorcerer’s complex costume included white face paint, a headpiece, and black-feathered wings. Odile, the evil twin of Odette, wore the exact outfit of Odette except in black — demonstrating the common theme of good versus evil. The show presented solo performances on a cello and violin duet as well as group performances of festively dressed dancers dancing away at a ball to a full symphony sound. The dynamic quality of the ballet kept the audience engaged throughout the two hour performance.

The overall show lasted for three hours, including forty minutes of intermission. The audience, with an average age in the sixties, alertly watched the dancers. The sheer magnitude and length of their applause signaled their satisfaction with the show. The Wang Theatre with its intricately carved gold wood and painted murals presented an awe-inspiring atmosphere even before the guests stepped into the actual showing room. Although regular tickets are expensive for the average student, the opportunity to attend a ballet at the Wang exists: rush tickets to many shows are available for about $20. I’ve heard it said that ballets are something that a person either loves or abhors; however, I believe the magical ballet experience creates a dreamlike world that can be appreciated by anyone — even if only for a night.

With alternating leads, Swan Lake played five shows from Thursday, Nov. 9 to Sunday, Nov. 12. The series of shows began the 2006-2007 Dance Series, which continues through April.