i’m pretty sure the robot lady inside my gps is either stupid or simply gets a kick out of messing with me. seriously, she sent me to the garden state plaza movie theater via the most illogical, annoying, nonsensical route imaginable. it’s a small miracle i got there at all, and as it was i arrived 18 minutes after the royal ballet’s “swan lake” (in cinema!) was scheduled to start. luckily, i didn’t miss too much and sat down just in time to catch the wonderful act 1 pas de trois danced so beautifully by yuhui choe (♥!), helen crawford and alexander campbell.
on the whole i enjoyed the production very much but i must confess it’s not my favorite presentation of this ballet. what bothered me most about the royal ballet’s swan lake was that everything was soooo dark and the sets and costumes are a bit gaudy and unattractive. okay, fine if the forest scenes are dark, but i much prefer the birthday party for prince siegfried (danced and acted splendidly by nehemiah kish) when the atmosphere is not quite so sinister looking. also, i hated his party outfit. high collared costumes should be banned in ballet, as dancers have such wonderfully elegant necklines and we should not hide them for goodness sake! scenery aside, the party was enjoyable. also, i would like to give a little shout out to the two young girls who had to dance with their creepy, drunk tutor (alastair marriott)- they were delightful!
the dancing was excellent throughout – the character dances, the swan corps and their lovely, dramatic queen ( zenaida yakowski ) were all just beautiful and i’m pretty sure siegfried was awesome as well- but in the the third act, due to his wearing black tights against a black set, i couldn’t really tell. i mean, i assume he was knocking off some impressive cabrioles but since we couldn’t see his legs he could have been doing flexed footed farmer style hitch kicks and we’d never know. (but seriously, nehemiah was a charming and lovable prince.)
tho nothing equals a live theater performance there are some pretty cool things about seeing a ballet at the movies – for one thing, you can enjoy popcorn while you watch! for another, it’s like having the best seats in house for 15 bucks. and (in this production at least), you get dancer interviews and backstage film footage during the intermissions. these little “behind the scenes” clips were so much fun – i especially enjoyed the bits with gary avis discussing his preparation for the role of von rothbart, which he danced and acted brilliantly.
setting my little issues with sets and costumes aside, i loved seeing the royal ballet’s swan lake (you know, once i actually found the movie theater) and i would greatly encourage any and everyone to catch a ballet in cinema if you can! next month the royal ballet presents the classic “sleeping beauty” featuring sarah lamb and steven mcrae (♥♥♥). go see it!