Archive for October, 2013

CINCINNATI BALLET’S JANESSA TOUCHET AND PATRIC PALKENS BRING “SWAN LAKE” TO LIFE

October 26, 2013

photo: Peter Mueller

Although last night’s “Swan Lake” at the Aronoff Center was a massive collaboration involving Cincinnati Ballet, BalletMet Columbus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, two dancers at the heart of the story made it come to life for me.

The first moment Patric Palkins as Prince Siegfried bounded onstage, he personified a very young man unsure of anything in life, but most of all sure he had not met the love of his life.  After finally meeting her in the admittedly strange form of an enchanted swan/woman (Janessa Touchet), the devotion of each to the other was complete.

Okay, there is one major bump in the road, when the Prince is fooled into thinking Odile (also played by Touchet), daughter of the evil Von Rothbart (Zack Grubbs), is the One, but in the end love triumphs, even if it’s in the form of a so-called apotheosis where the two are united not on earth but in heaven. Unfortunately, I was denied this last glimpse of the lovers, since the set was constructed so that a large clump of hanging branch blocked my view from the right balcony.

But be that as it may . . .

It’s hard enough to take in this ballet, there’s always so much going on, that having a through line, as they say, in the form of the lead dancers is essential.

This was Touchet’s third time in the role, and she’s said this will probably be her last time doing the ballet. I sincerely hope not. But even more touching was Palken’s debut in a full-length “Swan Lake.” This talented fellow was recently promoted from the corps to a senior soloist, and it’s easy to see why. Though he had  opportunities to show his ability to get into the air and seem to hover there, he also had plenty to do just displaying Touchet, whose Swan Queen is definitely the star of the show.

Every partnership is different. This  had extra interest because Palkens is younger than Touchet (well at, least in ballet terms. They both seem very young to me!). The tenderness and care with which he related to her gave the story a resonance I appreciated. His dismay at being fooled into pledging his troth to an imposter was poignant, as were the final embraces of the lovers as Von Rothbart continues to force them apart.

I’ve come to think that sometimes I bring as much to the show as the dancers. This time, I did actually experience this ballet as a tragic love story between two soul mates, and for whatever reasons – including choreography, staging, dancing, music –  it moved me greatly. Can’t ask for more.

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DIANA & IAN AT HEATHER’S R&M BIRTHDAY PARTY

October 26, 2013

Diana & Ian

CINCINNATI BALLET & BALLETMET COLUMBUS PRESENT SWAN LAKE THIS WEEKEND IN CINCINNATI

October 24, 2013
PHOTO: PETER MUELLER

PHOTO: PETER MUELLER

Here’s the link to my newest feature for Cincinnati CityBeat:

http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/article-28886-swan_lake_collaboration_brings_fully_staged_classic_to_cincinnati.html

CYNTHIA GREGORY ROCKS A HAWAIIAN SHIRT

October 5, 2013

 Cynthia Gregory 10/13

Prima Ballerina Assoluta Cynthia Gregory gets ready to coach Cincinnati Ballet’s Janessa Touchet and Sarah Hairston for the upcoming “Swan Lake” production.