A new drama twisted into this classic ballet
Ballets de Monte-Carlo presents Jean-Christophe Maillot's LAC (after Swan Lake)New York City Center (131 W 55th St New York, NY 10019 (212) 581-1212) Map it $50
It is no exaggeration that all ballerinas, regardless of training, dream of dancing "Swan Lake". Tchaikovsky's ballet is a rite of passage renewed each season by dancers and audiences alike. A highly original alternative to the four-act version, Jean-Christophe Maillot's "LAC (After Swan Lake)" is a dream both harsh and intoxicating. Provided with an expanded storyline by Jean Rouaud, the driving force of the ballet is its sorcerer, known here as Her Majesty of the Night, who brings and separates the couple in childhood. Rouaud and Maillot's choice of separating the Black and White Swan into two roles (as was done at ballet's premiere in 1877 thru the early 20th century) adds to the drama. The Prince is haunted by the loss - and by his parents who wish he would wake up, pushing him at times almost across the stage. At court, malevolently elegant visitors cloaked in black arrive to entice him to the lakeside where he finds his lost love and destiny. Maillot's depiction of these events is far from traditional. Gone are the peasant dances, "little" swan quartet and Black Swan's 32 fouettes (those fast, whipping turns). Maillot's physical choreography is edgier, as are the characterizations. The princesses vying for the Prince are no better than "Bachelor" contestants, both royal mothers and father get great, technically difficult steps to dance, and the swans are anything but delicate. The dreamiest moment is the Prince and White Swan's duet. They touch each other shyly, eventually giving into their feelings with each lift. Not set in any specific era, the production is coolly sophisticated like movie depictions of the company's home town.