The Swan Lake of an American dream

Between 2 and 7 October the Mariinsky Ballet Company gave seven performances of Swan Lake at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, as part of a major American tour.


Impatiently awaiting the start of the performances, the American press wrote that “There is no company in the world apart from the Mariinsky Theatre that can claim ownership rights to the ballet Swan Lake. The Mariinsky’s Swan Lake is, as is well known, ethereal beauty, lofty athleticism and precision.”

Judy Morr, organiser of the ballet tour to the Segerstrom Center, is one of the Mariinsky Ballet Company’s most passionate fans. “I think that this ballet (the Mariinsky’s version) contains the essence of Swan Lake. It has absolutely everything and so you never get tired of it,” she said in an interview for The Orange County Register. “The company has brought Swan Lake to Orange County before, too. It was performed along with Romeo and Juliet during the Mariinsky’s seventeen-day festival in 2006 in honour of the Segerstrom Center’s twentieth anniversary. This ballet is never boring either for me or for any other ballet fan. I get a feeling that amazes me each and every time when I see the apex of classical art being performed by the Mariinsky Ballet Company.”

After the first performance, Californian critics were vying with one another in their declarations of love for Tchaikovsky, Petipa and the greatest ballet company in the world to perform this ballet to such perfection. Reviewer of the internet magazine Coast Rante Cimafranca admitted that this Swan Lake won him over on the spot.

Los Angeles Times dance critic Laura Bleiberg lavished praise on the talents of the performers of the lead roles.
“(Oxana) Skorik immediately announced her own interpretation (of the role of Odette-Odile). She has a naturally pliant torso, supple arms and exceptionally pointed feet, and she used her elegant carriage with fresh spirit.
“Her Prince was the fresh-faced and boyish Vladimir Schklyarov. (...) He shot skyward with grand jetés that just hung there. For the first half, he was the melancholy Prince with a black cloud dogging him. His astonishment at finding thirty-two perfectly synchronized swan-women affected us too. And stumbling upon Odette, his true love, became a believable miracle. The ballet's two white scenes were inspiring, with the corps de ballet of thirty-two gorgeously framing the lead couple in subtly shifting geometric patterns.
“Konstantin Zverev brought a healthy dose of villainy, minus cartoonishness, to the sorcerer von Rothbart.”

From 10 to 14 October the Ballet Company will be giving six performances of Swan Lake at the renowned Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. They will then depart for Washington, where between 16 and 21 October at the Kennedy Center there will be seven performances of Sergei Prokofiev’s Cinderella with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky.

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