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A Classic Reborn: "Swan Lake" Performed at Lincoln Center

 Isabella Boylston as Odette, photo by Gene Schiavone

A terrific season at the American Ballet Theater at Lincoln Center reached another peak on the evening of Tuesday, June 19th, with a thrilling performance of Kevin McKenzie’s production of the immensely popular Swan Lake, set to the glorious score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, with exhilarating choreography after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov. The handsome sets and costumes were designed by Zack Brown while the effective lighting is by Duane Schuler.

The event was unforgettable for its brilliant cast led by Isabella Boylston, magnificent as Odette-Odile—this was her strongest work I have yet seen. Her astonishing partner as Prince Siegfried was the sensational Daniil Simkin, one of the finest dancers in the company, who dazzled the previous week as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet.

Thomas Forster was a forceful Rothbard, marvelously doubled by Alexandre Hammoudi in the third act. Joseph Gorak who shone as Benno, the prince’s friend, was delightfully complemented by the excellent Cassandra Trenary and Stephanie Williams in the pas de trois from the first act.

Many other dancers deserve mention. In the second act, Rachel Richardson, Jin Zhang, Mai Aihara and Betsy McBride—she was also the Hungarian princess in the third act—comprised the extraordinary quartet of cygnettes, followed exquisitely by Katherine Williams and Catherine Hurlin in the duet of swans.

The third act featured several more wonderful artists including Isadora Loyola, Erica Lall, and Elina Miettinen as the Spanish, Italian and Polish princesses, respectively. Kelley Potter and Duncan Lyle excelled in the Czardas while Courtney Lavine, Sung Woo Han, Brittany Degrofft and Gray Davis were superb in the Spanish Dance. Finally, Luis Ribagorda and Garegin Pogossian also entranced in the Neapolitan dance. The outstanding corps de ballet executed the most impressive work I have seen by them this season. I excitedly look forward to next week’s presentation of the always enjoyable Don Quixote.

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