The State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s “Swan Lake” Review – Pleasing, if not Precise


Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score for the “Swan Lake” ballet seems to sound better on the evening of a Chicago winter day.  



Even if the music was canned, what a delight to hear it fill the Harris Theater and watch often graceful dancers enrich the score with their moves.



On top of the graceful list was Ekaterina Tikhonova playing the spell-cast woman swan Odette and her evil doppelganger Odile, who helps steal away the Prince (Valery Tselichshev) from Odette’s embrace with the help of her evil spirited father, Rothbart, danced by Kirill Danilov



As soon as Tikhonova begins her dance it seemed like she had extra joints to flowingly articulate into the movements of a swan.  



Later as Odile the fluidity of her dancing and her lovely smile mesmerized yet again.  She was simply a delight to watch, even when she took a deep bow.



Yet, those all-of-a-piece swan dances by the corps de ballet were not quite up to the standard of Tikhonova’s star power.  



Knowing how the symmetry of the choreography of the swans dancing can usually outshine the soloists in “Swan Lake” there was no such competition here.  



It was subtle but always there—the arm somewhat out of line from the others, or the torsos that were meant to be in one plane somewhat ajar. 



Many of the soloists did have star moments—especially the Jester (Mihail Bogomazov), Danilov as Rothbart and Tselichshev as Prince Siegfried. 



However, one guesses that The State Ballet Theater of Russia left much of their A-team --i.e. the mostly different dancers shown in these pictures, at home.





We are spoiled audiences in Chicago when it comes to ballet—whether it be The Joffrey, appearances by American Ballet Theater, and memorably even a Russian competitor perhaps of the State Ballet, the Eifman Ballet that so often seems to channel Balanchine and other dance of top caliber that also grace our City’s stages.  We expect scenery, lighting, costumes and often daring choreography that add a new dimension, all of which were lacking here. 



That said, you can’t help but be pleased by “Swan Lake”.   Tikhonova’s performance and the music alone were enough to engage and entertain. 



There are two  more performance dates for The State Ballet Theatre of Russia’s “Swan Lake” at the Harris Theater, and MANY dance performances at the Harris beyond.  For information or tickets call 312 334 7777 or visit the Harris Theater website .




Photos and video courtesy of The State Ballet of Russia.







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