Review: Russian swans dance on Waterloo’s lake

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The State Ballet Theater of Russia performed the <em>Swan Lake</em> ballet at Centre in the Square Feb. 4 in an almost sold out house. The theatre was founded by former prima ballerina from The Bolshoi Theater Ballet, Maya Plisetskaya. The company stopped by Waterloo on their international tour before hitting places Mississauga, Toronto, and New York. The excitement of the attendees was palpable before the curtain opened. It was, however, dampened by the 20-minute cold wait outside of the theatre to present your ticket. The show started at 7:30 p.m., though a few attendees were still attempting to make it to their seats until 7:40 p.m., much to the irritation of those already seated.</p>

The ballet itself was a beautiful classic, filled with long lines, 25 continuous turns (no falls and perfect execution of the fouettes), and sublime jumps that defied gravity. There were a few detriments to the ballet, which included scenes and numbers being cut out of the performance, and a smaller number of dancers being present on the stage — a case, I’m sure, that is due to the size of the stage and not the Russian theatre’s dancers. Of course, the greatest downfall to the ballet was its lack of an accompanying orchestra. The soundtrack that played in the back was too quiet and allowed every step to be heard by the audience members. There is nothing as powerful as an accompanying orchestra, whose every beat hits your rib cage with the same powerful strokes as the dancers on stage. 

None of this, however, deterred the dancers, who continued to perform beautifully. The male lead was able to support the prima ballerina well above his head, and she seemed to soar through the air. The chorus presented a hauntingly beautiful representation of swans midflight; elegant, and poised. There can be no doubt that the prima ballerina was able perform the role of the black swan and the white swan spectacularly, her body as graceful as it was villainous. Perhaps the most awe-inspiring piece, however, belonged to the four ballerinas who performed the pas de quatre so phenomenally, and so perfectly in sync, that they appeared to be one body with four flouncing skirts. Overall, it was a magical experience to the inspiring music of Tchaikovsky. 

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