Butler Ballet's "Swan Lake"

Butler Ballet presented a production of "Swan Lake" at Clowes Hall last weekend.

4 stars -- Butler

Ballet, Clowes Hall, April 15-17

The opening

performance showcased many sterling moments. The first act bristled with

vibrant dancing, capturing the excitement of the birthday celebration honoring

Prince Ziegfried. James Kopecky danced compellingly with nuanced emotions. His

mother, the queen, regally portrayed by Christine Finch, reminds him of his

duty to choose a bride from among princesses arriving the next day from

neighboring nations. In a macho act, Bruno, the Prince's companion, (a

verve-ful Jordan Burke), suggests a midnight hunt along the seemingly mystical

lake. This sets in motion what is certainly the most rending happily never

after in classical ballet. From a mutually surprising spotting of each other

grows an achingly lovely series of moments materializing out of ether between

Kopecky and Leslie Dodge, who is a stunning Odette amidst a flock of perfectly

undulating Swan Maidens. Because we know it's star-crossed, the haunting music

mocks their beauty and plays into the evil Baron Von Rothbart, danced a bit

less sinister than expected by Holt Walborn. Act III's dances are deported

well, but again the evilness of Rothbart is underplayed, which takes the edge

off the impending doom. Katherine Kleine's Black Swan is technically lovely but

she dilutes the edginess required to heighten the drama. Act IV thus seemed a

bit flat, even rushed. Despite these interpretive lapses in choreography, the

production, under Michelle Jarvis, merits the same kind of praise heaped upon

Butler's basketball team. All the dancers, and the Butler Symphony Orchestra

conducted by Richard Auldon Clark, were nothing short of wonderful.


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