It was fairy-tale night for real at the Royal Ballet when the leading ballerina in "Swan Lake" was hurt during her performance, danced on in pain, then had to be replaced by a dancer who didn't know the role.
"Oh, I loved it they were shouting at me from the wings and miming what I had to do, but I couldn't dance and watch them as well so I just danced," the substitute, 20-year-old Viviana Durante, said after a sensational performance Wednesday night."It was a bit of a surprise to find a different ballerina in my arms in the middle of the third act," said Jay Jolley of Payson, Utah, who was dancing the lead male role of Prince Siegfried in the classical Russian ballet set to music by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky.
"Let's just say the fourth act was very vocal there was more talking than dancing going on, but Viviana was very cool, very together," he added.
There were gasps from those in the audience who could see when the crisis began at the Royal Opera House.
Maria Almeida, in the dual role of Odette-Odile, danced tip-toe into the scenery on her left as she was going offstage after being transformed back into a swan at the end of the second act.
She fell against a sharp-edged step and crashed to the floor but rose quickly and appeared to be unhurt as she disappeared into the wings.
Almeida began the third act but was replaced by Durante, who stepped into the role just as she had to do the famous 32 fouette turns a grueling series in which the dancer spins on one leg while whipping the other around her body.
Durante received a standing ovation at the end and was showered with the daffodils and narcissi that fans had brought for Almeida.