Swan Lake is Better than a Teenage Soap Opera

A review of Swan Lake
by Pacific Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall
by Renee A.

Love at first sight, evil sorcerers, and evil look-a-likes: sounds like the latest bad teenage soap opera. Actually, what I really am referring to is Pacific Northwest Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake (playing April 9th through the 19th at McCaw Hall). I would just like to point out the dance is beautifully done and about the furthest thing away from a bad teenage soap opera. My opening night experience was immaculate as all aspects of the show, from the staff’s eager willingness to direct me to the pre-show talk (I got a little turned around), to the beauty of the set and costumes made me want to come back and see it all again!

For those of you unfamiliar with the plot, Swan Lake is about the tragic love between Prince Siegfried (played opening night by Lucien Postlewaite) and Odette the Swan Queen (Kaori Nakamura), a woman who spends her days in bird form and only returns to her beautiful, human form at night. The audience follows along as Prince Siegfried is informed by his mother, the Queen, that he must choose a bride. The story then truly turns to fantasy when on a hunting excursion, the Prince and his men encounter a flock of swans that magnificently transform into women (in a glorious dance number of course). Soon after experiencing the swan-girls for the first time, we get to meet the sorcerer (quite a dramatic character), who is responsible for the curse put on Odette and the others. While the story can be found all over the internet, and if you attend the pre-show lecture you will hear the entire plot, I am not in favor of spoiling the ending for you.

So before I do my final schpiel of encouraging you to partake in this fantastical experience, I thought I would touch on a few of the highlights of the show just to give you that added urge to go. I never thought that dancers and actors partook in each others’ worlds, unless it was to be in a musical, but these dancers have not only mastered their beautiful choreography but also the strong acting that it takes to carry out a show with no talking. I found the Prince (Played by Lucien Postlewaite) to demonstrate particularly excellent acting skills but my favorite character by far was the Jester (played by Jonathan Porretta) and I suggest that you keep a watch out for his mischievous antics throughout the show. Also an interesting fact that I learned at the pre-show lecture is that the entire set is built slightly at a 5 degree angle. Once I made it into the auditorium I saw for myself that it is true. I agree wholly with PNB’s Education Programs Manager Doug Fullington that this idea does help the allusion that the story is taking place in another world, similar yet different that the one we live in.

So if you are craving for something different that the usual Friday movie and friends routine, or you are simply looking for a new experience to expand your horizons, consider getting yourself down to McCaw Hall to catch a performance of Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Swan Lake.

Swan Lake
plays at McCaw Hall at Seattle Center now through April 19th, 2009
visit www.pnb.org for tickets and information, or call 206.441.2424
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