Inspired by Degas: Wheeldon’s Swan Lake on the Joffrey Ballet

 

Victoria Jaiani as Odile and Dylan Gutierrez as Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon's Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

The Joffrey Ballet’s Victoria Jaiani as Odile and Dylan Gutierrez as Siegfried in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

 
Swan Lake has endured countless adaptations and cosmetic alterations since the 19th century, but most productions conclude with some form of tragedy – with the notable exception of the Soviets, who mandated an inane, feel-good ending that unites the White Swan and her beloved in a Socialist paradise.
 
Victoria Jaiani and the Joffrey Ballet corps in Wheeldon's Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

Victoria Jaiani and the Joffrey Ballet corps in Wheeldon’s Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

 
Along comes Chris Wheeldon, whose reimagining of Swan Lake resolves the crucial matter of the ending in the most poetic manner. His production opens and closes in a rehearsal studio at the Paris Opéra in the 19th century, in which dancers comport themselves between Swan Lake rehearsals in the casual manner depicted by French painter Edgar Degas. Thus he engineers two endings: one to the ballet about swans, the other to the tale of dancers in a studio.

The result is alluring, a few sour notes notwithstanding.
 

Elizabeth Hansen, Alexis Polito, and Cara Marie Gary in recreate a Degas-like moment in Wheeldon's Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

Elizabeth Hansen, Alexis Polito, and Cara Marie Gary recreate a Degas-like moment in Wheeldon’s Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

 
Anastacia Holden in Act III of Wheeldon's Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

Anastacia Holden in Act III of Wheeldon’s Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

 

The eighteen swan-maidens boast filigree arms, exquisitely hammered by Wheeldon out of both ancient and modern elements. On Saturday night, Victoria Jaiani melted hearts as the pure and damned White Swan, and set men’s pulses racing with her boldly sensuous, self-assured Black Swan. Blessed with a princely physique and courtly manners, Dylan Gutierrez was a strangely aloof Siegfried.
 

Dylan Gutierrez as Siegfried and Victoria Jaiani as Odette in Wheeldon's Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

Dylan Gutierrez as Siegfried and Victoria Jaiani as Odette in Wheeldon’s Swan Lake (Photo: Cheryl Mann) 

 
– Read Carla’s full review of the Saturday, October 18, 2014 performance of the Joffrey Ballet’s Swan Lake at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre on Bachtrack. –

 

 

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