“Swan Lake” takes flight in Ballet West’s elegant production

Sat Feb 10, 2024 at 1:13 pm
Emily Adams and Adrian Fry star in Ballet West’s Swan Lake. Photo: Beau Pearson

There is no question that Ballet West is this country’s leading regional ballet company. And that it is recognized nationally as a top-notch company should come as no surprise. 

The ballet troupe’s remarkable artistry was on full display at Friday’s opening-night performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

The sold-out audience at the Capitol Theatre was treated to a superb production of this venerable and much-loved ballet. The performance by the principals was matched by the dancing of the of the entire company, including the young students of Ballet West Academy.

Leading off this remarkable cast was Emily Adams as Odette/Odile and Adrian Fry as Siegfried. 

Adams’ dancing was marked by a grace and elegance that brought expressiveness and lyricism to her fluid moves, particularly as Odette, the enchanted swan who takes on human form only at night and with whom Siegfried falls in love.

And as Odile, the daughter of the sorcerer Baron von Rothbardt, Adams brought an enticing sensuality to her dancing that captivates Siegfried.

Fry’s dancing was imbued with energetic moves, and he showed off his strength as a dancer with dramatic jumps and spins that were exuberant yet always expressive. He brought enthusiasm to his portrayal of the young prince that was sincere and infectious.

Adams and Fry are well paired. Their scenes together were notable for the dancers’ flowing and seamless moves that were imbued with tender expressiveness. The Act II pas de deux, with Adams as Odette, exuded charm and warmth as Siegfried falls hopelessly in love with her during their dance. 

In the third act pas de deux, with Adams as Odile, Adams bewitches Siegfried who believes her to be Odette only to find out at the end of the act that he has been tricked. Fry supports Adams here perfectly as she displays her stunning virtuosity in her agile leaps and nimble moves. 

As the villainous Rothbardt, Tyler Gum was wonderfully sinister in his appearance and demeanor, bringing depth and expression to his portrayal. His dancing was forceful, and he was the perfect foil to Fry during the Act III pas de deux, as he interacted with Adams and Fry.

In supporting roles, Robert Fowler as Wolfgang, the major domo at the royal court, and Jordan Veit, as Siegfried’s confidante, were exceptional in their portrayals and dancing. Evelyn Cisneros-Legate brought dignity and grace to her role as the queen, Siegfried’s mother.

The entire ballet corps was in fine form in their roles as swans and courtiers and as soloists in the various dances in the third act.

The Ballet West orchestra, under the baton of music director Jared Oaks, played well. Oaks’ conducting was well paced with carefully chosen tempos that supported the action on the stage.

The production was conceived by artistic director Adam Sklute, based on the original choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, with additional choreography by Mark Goldweber and Pamela Robinson Harris.

The sets and costumes by Peter Cazalet were gorgeous, with an opulent court for Act III and an atmospheric setting of the lake for the prologue and Act IV. Particularly stunning was the opening of the last act, with thick mist covering the stage from which the swans slowly emerged. 

The principal roles are double cast, with the opening night dancers performing tonight and on Feb. 16-17.

Swan Lake runs through Feb. 17. balletwest.org

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