Performing Arts: Dance
  LAC after Swan Lake
March 16, 2014
Jean-Christophe Maillot’s LAC after Swan Lake for the Monte Carlo ballet is more War of the Swans. Re-imagined with a new scenography by Ernest Pignon-Ernst, two tribes, one of the light, one of the night vie for the crown held by a young, troubled but exuberant Prince. Layers of psychological intrigue surface between mother and son, and erotically charged Majesty of the Night and the King.

Although the ballet splits Tchaikovsky’s famous music into odd combinations, a technically sharp and very attractive company excels in the feisty, modern ballet steps that sheath the production in a sleek, young veneer.

No more swan arms undulating into infinity or arabesques stretching into the vastness of mystery. This psychodrama focuses on the tussle between family members and evil forces. Men grab hands arm wrestling style, trying to out maneuver the other. This power grip transfers to the women in their relationships plunging everyone into a state of discontent.

Two family trinities battle for their territorial rights. The splendid King (Gabriele Corrado) and Queen (Mi Deng) plus the Prince, a technically crisp, spinner and jumper Lucien Postlewaite compete with the very appealing, and stylishly long legged Majesty of the Night (April Ball), the spitfire Black Swan (Noelani Patastico) and the meek, shivering White Swan (Anjara Ballesteros).

In this version, the Prince falls in love with childhood friend who is snatched away by the furious Majesty of the Night ferried in by two exhilaratingly threatening Archangels of Darkness (Christian Tworzyanski and Ediz Erguc). And when The Prince is confronted with the prospect of marrying a maiden, he rudely pushes them all away, rough housing with his band of buddies until the hard-edged Black Swan seduces him.

When the White Swan finally appears during the second half she emerges from the nether, and shivers over some bourees. In a very nice moment, she stretches her leg in a clean line along the floor to a point and back, accenting the music and the recognition of her love.

The Prince’s band of boys, and in particular the Prince’s Confidant (Joseph Hernandez) as well as the female corps was all very strong performers. Bustling with theatrical flair, the costumes by Philippe Guillotel accented the fantastical and nouveau Medieval look but the White Swan's fully sheathed arms and hands in feathery stuff resembles Edward Scissorhands' appendages in white – or the Grinch’s slinky, long pincher fingers. It made her look much creepier than the posh Black Swan.

An enthusiastic response to Les Ballets de Monte Carlo at City Center points to a NYC audience ready for a return engagement.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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