This version of the world’s most famous ballet is staged by artistic director Vladimir Troschenko, a former partner to legendary Russian ballerinas such as Nadia Pavlova, Ludmilla Seminyaka and Galina Mezentseva. He carries on their long and soulful legacy.
Troschenko has created a moving sculpture garden where Russian passion is clear for everyone to see, especially in the tall proud bearing of so many manly dancers, and the exquisite, broadly open upper torsos of the women, who hold their arms delicately and high, and attack each step with precision.
Swan Lake tells the story of a young maiden, Odette, who is under the spell of evil sorcerer von Rothbart, who has condemned her and others like her to be swans by day and human at night. Odette, the Swan Queen, can only break the spell by having a young man swear his undying love for her. If unfaithful, she will be trapped forever.
The corps de ballet — a flock of 18 swans — shows off its precision, delicacy and harmony of line, while standing with feathers quivering in unison, folding themselves up like fluffy goslings, preening, gliding across the stage with tiny pitter-patter steps, or posing in a stunning tableau.
While the original version is more than four hours long, this staging has been artfully edited to just over two, yet it still manages to run the gamut of human emotion from elation to despair, purity to corruption, melancholy to joy. It grabs the audience at the beginning and doesn’t let it go — although the ending is not what everyone might expect. Performances in Russia and Cuba often have happy endings, and in this version the evil von Rothbart is vanquished and the loving couple appear headed toward marital bliss.
— Sally Michael Keyes represents the Moscow Ballet.