San Francisco Ballet
Tuesday, February 24, 8PM
San Francisco Ballet is known more for its ultra-cool contemporary works than the evening-length conventional story ballets, but Artistic Director Helgi Tomasson has invested a lot of time and money into a spectacular new full-length marvel that is sure to amaze everyone. And while “Swan Lake” has seen multiple incarnations-- including traditional white feathers, a corps de ballet full of beefy men, and techno swan lake on ice--, this most recent version tastefully merges the best of the old with the swankiest of the new.
One of the most streamlined additions is the Prologue, which Tomasson has added to give more depth behind why Von Rothbart, the evil sorcerer, kidnapped and transformed Odette into a swan by day and an abducted princess by night. While short, the prologue provides succinct backstory, necessary for those new to the story or ballet and appreciated by “Swan Lake” veterans.
On Tuesday, Tina LeBlanc, who retires this May, danced the dual role of Odette/Odile with such confidence and emotion. Each step, attitude, and pirouette were so achingly perfect, yet it was her expression that hit a nerve for me. LeBlanc’s focus is never to just dance the choreography; there’s always something more, something grander and intricately divine emoting from within on stage, and this swan princess couldn’t have been anything more beautiful than on Tuesday. Her Odette blended just the right amount of shyness and affection, while Odile tipped the scales, dancing sultry and bold. Especially as Odile, LeBlanc’s fighting personality showed through, checking off 30 lovely fouettes after tearing her ACL less than two years ago.
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San Francisco Ballet in Tomasson's Swan Lake.
© Erik Tomasson
© Erik Tomasson