Ballet done right

Currently wrapping up its two-week engagement at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House, American Ballet Theatre performed Giselle and a program of works created by Michel Folkine including Les Sylphides and Petrouschka last week. This week, the company is moving on to the famed Swan Lake.

Since its founding in 1940, ABT has always been known as America’s ballet company. It’s not hard to see why. The company has a brilliant and beautiful troop of dancers lead by the finest and most technically stunning principal dancers in the world. With the aid of lush sets and gorgeous costumes, a night at the ballet becomes a journey into a dream world where love is unending and magic can transform a girl into a swan.

ABT is taking part in the celebration of 1940s arts that laid the framework for their first decade of existence. The mixed-bill program allows ABT to flaunt its deep pool of talent.

Far from disappointing, Swan Lake was pure in its magical story, impressive choreography, exquisite costumes, moving score and stunning dancers. Gillian Murphy danced the lead role as if it was made especially for her. Her performance was gleaming: delicate, sensitive, sexy and seductive. Angel Corella was especially touching in his role of Prince Siegfried. His presence and dancing possessed a maturity that makes him one of the best dancers the stage has ever seen. The first act was another stand-out performance danced by Xiomara Reyes, Erica Cornejo and Herman Cornejo. The corps of swans must be acknowledged for their fine-tuned dancing throughout the whole ballet. The third act was an explosion of sheer excitement with opulent d?cor and costumes set as background to an amazing array of dance. Murphy and Corella exploded with not just dance but human pyrotechnics.

It will not be hard to see that ABT rivals the best companies of the world after seeing this production. Indeed it is America’s company: exciting, impressive, talented and not to be missed.

The American Ballet Theatre will perform at the Kennedy Center until Sunday. Call (202) 467-460 for tickets.

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