**** Highly Recommended **** The Joffrey Ballet’s “Swan Lake” is exquisite – trés magnifique! When I talk about dance companies, it’s frustrating when someone slots the Joffrey into the modern, cutting edge ballet company, and I have to argue that they are equally good at the classical. I’m proven right when they do a classical ballet like “Swan Lake” with such perfection.
I’ve seen “Swan Lake” many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite as beautiful as this one. Victoria Jaiani was truly exquisite as Odette/Odile, and I am in absolute awe of the way her hands expressed every emotion.
Christopher Wheeldon, an incredibly innovative choreographer, has modernized “Swan Lake”, moving into the studios of the Paris Opera Ballet. In Act I, The Ballet Master/Wolfgang (Fernando Duarte) tries to keep the company rehearsal on track, but company dancer/Prince Seigfried (Dylan Gutierrez) who has fallen in love with his partner (Jaiani), who is dealing with an over-aggressive admirer/Von Rothbart (Fabrice Calmels).
The Queen (Joanna Wozniak), her ladies in waiting (Michelle Kenyon and Callahan Porter) watch aa Pas de Trois danced by Amanda Assucena, April Daly and Yoshihisa Arai. A Seamstress (Katya Schloemann) tries to fit a costume.
The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Court: Anais Bueno, Nicole Ciapponi, Cara Marie Gary, Anna Gerberich, Dara Holmes, Gayeon Jung, Brooke Linford, Leticia Stock, Derrick Agnoletti, Edson Barbosa, Evan Boersma, Stefan Goncalvez, Hansol Jeong, Graham Maverick, Greig Matthews and Aaron Renteria.
Act II is all about the swans: the Big Swans (Jeraldine Mendoza and Christine Rocas), the Cygnets (Amanda Assucena, Nicole Ciapponi, Cara Marie Gary and Leticia Stock). The Swans include Anai Bueno, Valeria Chaykina, Lucia Connolly, Olivia Duryea, Dara Holmes, Yuka Iwa, Gayeon Jung, Yumi Kanazawa, Brooke Linford, Chloé Sherman, Olivia Tang-Mifsud and Joanna Wozniak.
I thought Act III was vaguely reminiscent of the party scene in “The Nutcracker”. Regardless, it was gorgeous. The Pas De Quatre was danced by Anna Gerberich, Jeraldine Mendoza, Edson Barbosa and Greig Matthews. The Russian Dance featured Christine Rocas. Anais Bueno, Rory Hohenstein and Elivelton Tomazi danced the Spanish Dance, whil Brooke Linford and Aaron Renteria danced the Czardas. Finally, Valeria Chaykina, Nicole Ciapponi, Lucia Connolly and Chloé Sherman danced the Can-Can.
The Gentlemen Patrons: Derrick Agnoletti, Yoshihisa Arai, Evan Boersma, Stefan Goncalvez, Hansol Jeong, Graham Maverick, Xavier Núñez Alonso Tepetzi, Valentino Monelgia Zamora, and Joan Sebastián Zamora. The Ballerinas: Olivia Duryea, Cara Marie Gary, Dara Holmes, Yuka Iwai, Gayeon Jung and Yumi Kanazawa. Waiters: Johathan Dole and Rees Launer.
Act IV occurred on the frozen lake as Odette, Prince Seigfried and Von Rothbart, surrounded by the Swans and Ballerinas played out the tragedy. In an interesting twist, the curtain calls featured only the three above-named stars and the Swans and Ballerinas. Needless to say, the audience gave them a standing ovation.
“The Joffrey Ballet” performs “Swan Lake” through October 28th at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 East Congress Pkwy, Chicago. The best parking option I’ve found is Loop Auto Parks, 524 S Wabash (under the El) at $20; $16 with coupon available at www.auditoriumtheatre.org/plan-your-visit/parking-and-directions/
Running time is 2 hours, 45 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission and one 15-minute intermission. Performance schedule and ticket information ($35-$195) can be found at www.joffrey.org. Next up for the Joffrey: “The Nutcracker”, opening December 1st.
Read all of my reviews at www.spotlightonlake.com.