Top critical review
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Tecnically and emotionally lacking
on May 1, 2005
Before I begin, let me mention that I was trained as a classical ballet dancer until I was 15 (at which time I was forced to stop due to injury), and feel that I can describe myself as a relative authority on ballet technique.
As mentioned by others, the sets and costumes in this production are beautiful. The first act especially is lavishly dressed in a Gothic style, which is an interesting variation on other productions. The dark, rich colors in the first and third acts contrast nicely with the pastel blues that are inevitably used in the second and fourth acts. It is obvious that this production is meant to endure with this company.
The dancing, however, is unfortunate. While as a whole the men are technically superior, their acting is below par. As far as the women go, the arms and hands of this company are not as fluid and expansive as they ought to be when portraying the swans. Likewise, their feet lack the articulation necessary for such a classical work. The short, muscular build that this company seems to favor does not compare to the ethereal, sinuous swans of the Russian companies, and their dancing is similarily earthbound.
The principals are also disappointing. Anders Nordstrom dances a Siegfried that is forgettable and poorly acted, though, as I said before, his technique is excellent. Nathalie Nordquist is obviously young, and has not yet mastered the subtle acting necessary to make the ballet soar. The black swan looks awkward on her, as if she tries too hard to seem evil, where her dancing should make it clear. Her technique is imperfect, and while her extensions are certainly sufficient, they are often not precisely placed. The famous fouettes in the third act travel a disappoingly large distance, when they are not supposed to move at all. Her arms, like those of the corps, are not reminiscent of a swan's wings at all.
Overall, despite the number of people onstage, this production is missing the feeling of epic ballet that is so present in other productions. The second act seems small and inelegant, and the third lacks the gradeur of a palace.
I would not recommend this version of Swan Lake, as there are so many others that are decidedly superior to this one.