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REVIEW: Colorado Ballet easily sails over challenges of classic Swan Lake

October 17, 2016

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again. There is a daunting task for every dancer that carries the heavy, Russian weight of performing Swan Lake. They follow in the footsteps of giants such as Margot Fonteyn, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and are also tasked with performing one of the most technically grueling and revered ballet storylines in the dance canon.

There are not many ballets requiring 32 fouette turns of their lead. Such is the case for the dared dancer cast as the Black Swan, Odile, who has already danced countless pas de deux for hours as her white swan counterpart Odette.

But watching live dancers achieve such technical prowess in harmony with the Colorado Ballet Orchestra’s rendition of Tchaicovksy’s famous swan song(s) is what makes this show an eternal treat no matter how many times you have seen the Cygnets’ dance.

Colorado Ballet’s version features original choreography after Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, set and updated by former American Ballet Theatre principals Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner and Sandra Brown, ballet mistress for Colorado Ballet.

Colorado Ballet has three dancers for Swan Lake’s principal roles that it rotates between. I saw the performance featuring Sharon Wehner as Odette-Odile and Yosvani Ramos as Prince Sigfried.

Whener is lithe, intrepid and seemingly ageless, despite this being her 20th season with the Colorado Ballet. Yosvani Ramos is a merry, buoyant match to to Whener’s physically and psychologically demanding role.

Gregory K. Gonzales plays the evil Baron Von Rothbart with perfect pomp — the evil sorcerer who has transformed Princess Odette into a swan and who can only take on her human form at night.

He also may come away with the award for best costume. Those wings!

Swan Lake is one of the greatest classical ballets of all time, telling the timeless story of Prince Siegfried, the beautiful Princess Odette, the villainous Baron Von Rothbart, and evil Odile.

And it is also just a lot of showing off the by soloist dancers and too many beautiful background formations to count performed by the Colorado Ballet corps.

Look at those bourrées . Look at that port de bras. Look at that penché! And all with pointe shoes on.

Colorado Ballet’s production is presented in four acts with two intermissions. It runs through October 23 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets sold at coloradoballet.org/performances/swan-lake.