’50 shades of Magic’ in motion

Swan Lake-Australian Ballet


     I entered a new realm of artistry that I was not ready to accept in the beginning. I witnessed and I was completely enveloped in the Australian Ballet’s of Swan Lake. Australia has a great tradition of classical dance as all the various Ballets Russes performed there.

     They turned ballet on its head recently during the Music Center’s 50th Anniversary in Los Angeles. This production was created about the same time as Matthew Bourne‘s Swan Lake. However, I feel this version was more true to the original emotional impact of the ballet.

     This ‘Swan’ takes the reality of the nervous bride, laced with insecurity and jealousy beyond an acceptable norm to the point of being driven into a psychic state, being, “Does He Loves Me?” drove her into an insane asylum. So the “swans” are not a disconnection; moreover, a manifestation of her hallucinations.

     Between ice bathes, Odette’s altered state makes her a swan. Living in this realm, the other swans become her protectors as in the original. She pulls her prince into her web of delusion. In this world, she seduces him until her rival from the Royal Family dances a Russian Chardash, on point, to seduce the Prince.

     The complex staging and brilliant alter libretto transforms, “the real world” into Odette’s psychic state that becomes a reality for the ill fated lovers. 

Amber Scott and Adam Bull.

Amber Scott and Adam Bull.

    Yes, it all a bit much to take if you are more of purest like myself, but I have seen Contemporary Shakespeare and the Sacre du Printemps transformed by Maurice Bejart. So as a dancer/choreographer, I opened this portion of my mind. However, no excuses needed for the choreography used by Graeme Murphy which I found to be a classical vocabulary which was innovative beyond reproach.

     From the counter-balance of a same sex couple to the ménage a trios aka threesome of the protagonists set; thusly I found it to be a provocative and emotionally rich performance.

     Amber Scott as Odette was truly one of the greatest actresses I have seen on a stage. Adam Bull as Prince Siegfried was a sympathetic tortured soul. The role of Baroness von Rothbart was really the “Odile” of this performance. The entire company was complete perfect from move and coordination of every step and nuance – truly the best corps de ballet that I have ever seen.

     The sets, costumes and lighting were half the production. I believe anyone in attendance could feel the magic in the air by Artistic Director David McAllister. I urge you to make this a must see in your lifetime and hopefully the Australian Ballet will be performing near you.

Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.

Photo by Lisa Tomasetti.


     For more information, including AB’s 2015 schedule, see: www.australianballet.com.au.

Review by Tony Clark, Chevalier dans l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres, clarkarts@aol.com

Published by on October 2014. Filed under Art-in-Performance Section, California, News (Time related), Palette News Arts Network/PNAN. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Comments for “’50 shades of Magic’ in motion”

  1. Michael Chill

    I have learned over the years to appreciate Mr. Clark’s perspective and I enjoyed this interpretation of Swan Lake.

  2. nycbroway42nd

    Aaahhhh…Swan Lake lives on in all its romance and beauty and as you say reviewer Clark, the Australian Ballet Company was magical. Respectfully, Jan.

  3. Aussie Jones

    As I was travelling through cyberland, ding goes my Google alert and I was informed on a new review by Chevalier Clark. I say multiple times to you CC…Bravo and your words were right on. I must add if you think their Swan Lake was a jaw-dropper…come down under and experience Sleeping Beauty when it opens next year. Dave

  4. TJ Escott

    Tony’s review was spot on!
    My wife and I were blown away by the entire production.
    The principal dancers were superb!

  5. Padrick

    Sounds like a fascinating interpretation well-executed. I’m excited to see it.

  6. Gianluigi

    Tony is an artist of many stages.
    When the dancer can transcend into the surreal and find new meaning to familiar movement, he aligns himself to intimate levels of art. There’s an intended expression by the creator; to the beholder there is limitless meaning. We see, it affect us, thus experience can be our bliss.

  7. Mark Fong

    Excellent in depth review of the classic, “Swan Lake.” I will check to see when this impressive production will come to our area. Thank you for your detailed review. Cheers

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