"SWAN LAKE" by Ballet West, Feb. 11-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 14-15 at 2 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South (801-869-6920 or balletwest.org)
When Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute bravely revisited the ballet "Swan Lake" in 2010 and put a more modern spin on the production, which had its original premiere more than 130 years ago, the result was a captivating experience from beginning to end.
Now Ballet West has brought "Swan Lake" back to the stage at the Capitol Theatre, and talented dancers and a beautiful score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (who also composed the music for "The Nutcracker" and "The Sleeping Beauty") are among many notable elements.
Act 1 instantly attracts attention with the first scene, where the ominous Baron von Rothbart, played by Beau Pearson, captures Odette. This act also introduces the charming Prince Siegfried, played by Rex Tilton, who must marry in order to become heir to the throne. Tilton was impressive with his effortless turns and powerful leaps. The pas de trois played by Beckanne Sisk, Arolyn Williams and Adrian Fry is enchanting and sets the tone for the rest of the scene.
Odette, played Feb. 6 by Christiana Bennett, is a role that challenges even the most experienced of dancers. Bennett had no trouble embodying the characteristics of a swan: fragile, graceful and light as air. It was eerie how well Bennett portrayed a bird.
What makes the part of Odette even more challenging is that the dancer must also play the role of Odile, Baron von Rothbart's evil daughter who is used to trick Prince Siegfried. Odile is fiery, deceptive and boastful, and Bennett had no trouble making the transformation. Bennett executed her impressive balance, extension and artistry with apparent ease.
In Act 2, the relationship between Prince Siegfried and Odette blossoms. The characters allow the audience to fall in love along with them and experience the first stages of romance.
This act also has the dance of the cygnets, a classic scene that requires four dancers to perform in complete unison. Katie Critchlow, Lindsay Duerfeldt, Jenna Rae Herrera and Chelsea Keefer didn't miss a beat in the impressive routine.
"Swan Lake" must have strong lead dancers as well as a strong corps de ballet. The Ballet West dancers helped to carry the production and transform the audience from scene to scene. The company's emphasis and execution of port de bras and artistry is some of the best in the ballet world.
Not only were the dancers captivating, the scenery and the costuming also stood out. The costumes are so impressive that Taylor Swift used them in her hit music video "Shake it Off." The theater has one of the costumes displayed in the lobby so that guests can get a closer look at the handiwork of the talented costume department.
Many people may feel that they cannot relate to a ballet, but this production of "Swan Lake" is sure to sway audiences as it shares the enchanting story of how Odette and Prince Siegfried fall in love despite the odds.