The Cincinnati Ballet celebrated its 50th anniversary by performing one of the most well known ballets of all time Friday. The company’s recital of “Swan Lake” received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Aronoff Center.
In the hands of a less capable company, a recognizable ballet could have easily resulted in a disaster.
The evening began with Cincinnati Ballet’s Artistic Director and CEO Victoria Morgan welcoming the audience and providing a brief explanation of the ballet’s partnership with BalletMet Columbus.
Audience members’ anticipation grew as the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra began and the Aronoff filled with music. Conductor Carmon Deleone and the musicians were so talented that the music alone could have drawn a crowd.
Just as the audience became engrossed by the music, the curtain rose to reveal the dancers.
Act 1 began and it was obvious that partnering with BalletMet Columbus was extremely beneficial to the performance as the stage was completely filled with picturesque dancers. Every dancer who appeared on stage had an elaborate costume, which added to the grandeur of the performance.
A large group of dancers performed as they celebrated Prince Siegfried’s (Patric Palkens) 21st birthday. The audience felt as if they were included in the celebration as the center filled with applause when Siegfried first appeared on stage.
Siegfried’s Mother (Victoria Morgan) informs her son that he must choose a bride at the royal ball the following evening. Both Morgan and Palkens are able to use their bodies to portray the events of the story without speaking.
Siegfried’s friend, Benno (Andres Estevez) attempted to raise his friend’s spirits as he and the remaining party performed one seamless dance after another. However, when the party is unsuccessful, Benno invites Siegfried to go hunting in the forest.
In Act 2 the audience is introduced to Odette (Janessa Touchet), a girl who has been turned into a swan by the evil wizard Von Rothbart (Zach Grubbs). Once again, the Aronoff was filled with applause as Touchet began to perform. Odette and the swans had the most elegant costumes of the entire performance.
Although both Touchet and Palkens delivered moving performances, the Four Cygnets (Jacqueline Damico, Courtney Hellebuyck, Abigail Morwood and Maizyalet Velazquez) performed together in eloquent synchronization. Their scene was one of the highest points of the evening. The audience marveled as the four dancers performed as one and remained in exact tune with each other throughout their dance.
In one of the most iconic scenes of the ballet, Von Rothbart’s daughter Odile (Janessa Touchet) appears in a black swan costume. Touchet and Palkens spotlessly performed this challenging chorography.
The Aronoff was transformed into a musical snow globe in the most remarkable scene of the show. The flawless combination of snow on the swan dancers as they immaculately moved together coupled with the impeccable orchestra was the picturesque end to a tantalizing performance.