Six different ballerinas will take on the starring role in “Swan Lake” when American Ballet Theatre performs the full-length production at the Kennedy Center in January, among them audience favorite Misty Copeland. Copeland will be the only ballerina in the rotation with two performances of the dual role of Odette/Odile, on Friday, Jan. 27 and again on the evening of Sunday, Jan. 29, the Kennedy Center and ABT have announced.
The lithe, ethereal Hee Seo will open ABT’s run on Jan. 25, paired with Cory Stearns as Prince Siegfried, the man who falls in love with the enchanted Princess Odette but is tricked into betraying her by her vicious lookalike, Odile. The other leading couples are Gillian Murphy and Marcelo Gomes (Jan. 26), Veronika Part and James Whiteside (Jan. 28 matinee), Isabella Boylston and Alban Lendorf (Jan. 28 evening) and Devon Teuscher and Marcelo Gomes (Jan. 29 matinee).
I’ll be interested to see how Copeland’s take on Odette/Odile has evolved since she danced those roles as a guest with the Washington Ballet in 2015, just months before her promotion as ABT’s first African American principal ballerina.
Other dancers I’m keen to see include Lendorf, formerly a principal of the Royal Danish Ballet, and his Odette/Odile Boylston, who has an especially warm, generous presence onstage. Can she also muster the wicked glee of the predatory Odile?
Any dancer’s debut in such an iconic ballet as “Swan Lake” is a dramatic event, and a potential chance to see the breakout moment of a future star. This run features two ABT debuts: Lendorf (who has danced Siegfried in Denmark) and Teuscher, a soloist who hails from Pennsylvania and Vermont. Tall and willowy with a powerful technique, Teuscher has rapidly earned featured roles in such ballets as “Giselle,” “Don Quixote” and “La Bayadere” since she joined ABT’s corps de ballet in 2008. She created one of the fairies in Alexei Ratmansky’s “Sleeping Beauty,” seen at the Kennedy Center last winter, and she received the 2016 Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, which funds training and education outside the company’s season.
ABT’s version of “Swan Lake” is choreographed by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and includes a prologue depicting Odette’s capture by the sorcerer von Rothbart and transformation into a swan by day, maiden by night.
Misty Copeland packs Wolf Trap with the power of love