When I first received an invite from Milestone Entertainment for The Golden Gala Premiere of Swan Lake by Ballet West, I had to reread their email several times due to disbelief. If you have read my previous post, also on Swan Lake, you’ll know that I had learnt ballet eons ago. So being able to attend Swan Lake was a dream come true for me and definitely one of my Performing Arts Bucket List items!
And with it being held up at Genting’s, the location’s atmosphere set the mood for the anticipated event, complete with cool weather and mist to boot. The Genting International Showroom, where Swan Lake is being performed, is just one floor above the Genting Grand Hotel Lobby, convenient indeed!
As invited guests, we were treated to a lovely cocktail reception with delicious hors d’oeuvres and freshly squeezed juices or beer. It was a great time to catch up with some of my fellow blogger friends.
Gillian Barton, the Founder & Director of Ballet West, was so hospitable during the reception, stopping at every table to chat with guests as well as pose for pictures. Choy Peng of Choypengism and I couldn’t help but get in a photo of our very own!No videos nor photographs were allowed during the show, so all stage photos in this post (aka the ones without my blog name plastered on them) are credited to Ryan James Davies, the official photographer for the event. Thank you Ryan! The performance that evening was graced by DYMM Sultanah Pahang Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom who arrived promptly with her entourage. And right after the audience were seated, the curtains went up and the performance began!
Swan Lake by Ballet West is divided up into 4 Acts, with 2 before Intermission, and the remaining 2 right after.
Act 1 starts off with a Birthday Celebration for Prince Siegfried where he is presented with a crossbow. His mother, the Queen, also informs him that he is to be subjected to an arranged marriage as he has come of age yet has not found a bride. The Prince, upset upon hearing his mother’s wishes, then goes off hunting with his friends with his new crossbow.
Act 2 is about Odette’s Story and herein enters the White Swan at the lake where the Prince discovers her. We find out that she has been cursed along with some other girls, to be magically turned into swans during the day, and only to reclaim their true human forms at night. Prince Siegfried, entranced by Odette, tries to woo her without success as the curse hangs between them and threatens their feelings for each other. The curse, it will come to be known, can only be broken if Odette finds a man whose heart belongs only to her.
With Act 3 comes The Matchmaking Party, where Rothbart (the evil sorcerer that cursed Odette) brings his daughter Odile (the Black Swan), disguised as Odette, to the party to ensnare the Prince’s heart in order to keep the curse securely in its place. It works, and the Prince informs the Queen that he has found his lady.
In Act 4, the Prince realises that he has been duped and seeks Odette’s Forgiveness. Receiving such, they declare their love for one another and decide to die together, breaking the curse on the rest of the swans, and also on the power Rothbart holds over them. He eventually dies as well, after being overcome by the swans.
Natasha Watson, playing Odette (the White Swan), was flawless in her execution. With ballet, it is sometimes hard to watch every angle of a performance. Not only were her expressions on point, clearly projecting the mood of the piece, but her feet were most definitely en pointe as well (an observation I made as often as I dared take my eyes away from the performance)! Her leg movements were so precise and detailed, depicting a swan’s movements, that they were worth the price of the seat ticket itself.
Jonathan Barton, who plays Prince Siegfried, too was lovely to watch. Showcasing a principal danseur’s much-needed strength (there were quite a number of long lifts he had to complete) yet never foregoing on the gracefulness of the dance form.Uyu Hiromoto was equally wonderful in her portrayal of the Black Swan Odile, casting her evil spell on us as the evening unfolded. Her series of pirouettes are not to be missed!
The vividly colourful costumes and intricate swan tutus were yet another star of the show. With 33 dancers, the performance is definitely a feast for the eyes. The whole cast played their roles wonderfully, bringing Swan Lake to life with such poise and elegance. The backgrounds, although few, were eye-catching, complete with (here comes the Genting element again) mist! And last but definitely not least, Tchaikovsky’s hauntingly beautiful music. It sweeps you up and immerses you in the world of Swan Lake.
How often are we graced by dance of such calibre, performed by dancers from around the UK!? And so again, THANK YOU, to Milestone Entertainment and The Dance Company, for bringing this mesmerising performance by Ballet West to our shores. It will not be forgotten.
Tickets are still on sale here so don’t miss the chance to be enraptured by Swan Lake by Ballet West.