One of the reasons why Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite of the Disney animated films is Tchaikovsky's music. So while at first I thought I wasn't going to see Ballet Arizona's Swan Lake, the lure of Tchaikovsky and the opportunity to see one of the most famous ballets brought me once more to Symphony Hall.
I had begun to decide that ballet wasn't really my medium, wasn't really the thing I liked most to regularly watch. I found, however, that Swan Lake was my style of ballet. As soon as the curtain came up, I felt like they had put everything together for me. The woodsy, rich-with-details backdrop drew me in to this fantasy, medieval setting. Tchaikovsky's music kept me enthralled and engaged in that personal way that his music has. In fact, I felt like I could have been there just to hear Phoenix Symphony performing this music, even without the rest of the ballet (which I don't say in order to speak against the beautiful sets and costumes and the skill of the performers, just to emphasize my interest in the music).
The choreography also felt very different, to me, from Romeo and Juliet last season. Here there were always multiple pieces. If a pair danced in the center of the stage, there were usually also performers on the sides of the stage. And the style of dancing changed in different scenes or parts of scenes to go along with whatever is happening at the time. All of this meant that there were more things for me to watch, more options for my eyes, more ways to hold my interest. Then of course was the way in which the choreography mimicked the movement of swans to show the cursed identity of Odette and her friends.
What I felt while watching this production was a complete synchronization between visuals and sounds. This was music and dance telling a story in an elegant and emotional composition. I always want to see emotion on stage, don't I? Well, Swan Lake certainly portrays emotion. It's a lovely artistic fantasy, truly a magical piece.
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