I think I may have seen the most exquisite vision of my life:
Tight little rows of ballerina swans in flat feathered tutus moving into different formations, tilting their hips like feathers ruffling, tapping their toes on the floor like feathers fluttering, sometimes in unison, and always purposefully perfect.
This weekend, BC Ballet presents the National Ballet of China’s performance of the 19th century classic Swan Lake, set to the well-known score of Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky and after last night’s performance, I urge everyone to grab a ticket for a potentially once in a lifetime experience.
The technical precision executed by the National Ballet of China is almost alien-like as the white swans dance, when Prince Siegfried (Sheng Shidong) leaps and pirouettes multiple times in the air and when Odette (Zhang Jian) bends backward so far, her head almost touches the ceiling again.
Though extremely regimented and precise, the National Ballet of China doesn’t perform a cold, technical rendition of the famous love story–they are able to capture the emotional life of the story of a Prince who falls in love with a princess who has been turned into a swan by a sorcerer.
Zhang Jian’s Odette is heartbreaking and she not only communicates emotions through her graceful and open-hearted movements and facial expressions, but she also conveys them through actual emotion he conjures up–her grief, love, and longing projects to the very back of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and resonates in the space throughout the show, and in my case, with me for the rest of the night.
The National Ballet of China’s Swan Lake, presented by BC Ballet, runs until Saturday, March 2, 2013 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Tickets are still on sale for performances tonight and tomorrow. Follow Ballet BC on Facebook and Twitter for updates and show information.