Nine Reasons Seeing ABT's Swan Lake Lifted My Heart Last Week
1) The Metropolitan Opera House seats 3,800 people. 95 percent of those seats were occupied. A diverse and buoyant crowd of ballet fans stretched across Lincoln Center and around the block on a gorgeous summer night.
2) The artisanal beauty of the costumes was a glorious antidote to mass produced homogeneity.
3) I had a rather extreme "partial view" seat in the front box of the dress circle (way up high), so the orchestra and the dancers took up equal space in my field of vision. Because the familiar music floated directly up, I heard notes I had literally never heard before.
4) Misty Copeland's Odette was human, vulnerable, birdlike, and with the speediest exquisite battement battu. She glowed with humility.
5) Sarah Lane performed the Black Swan pas de deux in place of Misty Copeland. Her crystalline execution and persuasively icy beauty turned a potentially disappointing situation into a treat.
6) Calvin Royal III delighted the entire audience as a glamorously entrancing bad guy.
7) The choreography reminded me of rich, varied, exciting possibilities for grand allegro combinations for women.
8) The audience roared with such warm and spontaneous appreciation--for Misty Copeland, yes--but also for all of the dancers.
9) There's been some discussion about why the lead role was divided and whether that situation was fair to Sarah Lane. I'll leave that for others. I was genuinely moved to see two principal dancers sharing the bows and curtain calls with such grace, warmth, and mutual support. It reinforced my own experience with the dancers in Full Circle Dance Company. The Black Swan myth is wrong. Real dancers--generous, intelligent, hardworking artists interested in excellence--so often have each other's backs.