Producing a Swan Lake tests the mettle of any ballet company, not just because of the skill and talent involved in mounting a production but for its historic connection to the art form.
At Friday nights performance, Ballet Idaho, with the Boise Philharmonic in the pit, produced a spectacular version of this classical ballet with every feather in place and every performer bringing his or her best to the stage.
Placed on David Walkers storybook set on loan from Texas Theatre Ballet artistic director Peter Anastos and ballet master Alex Ossadnik pulled together a tightly rehearsed and beautifully staged performance that was everything youd want in a Swan Lake.
The choreography was staged after Marius Petipa-Lev Ivanovs 1895 legendary work by Ossadnik and Anastos with care.
Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti, perfectly cast as the doomed white swan Odette, captured each bird-like movement and style point. On top of mastering the technical aspects her beautiful arabesque, spot on turns and balances she brought a sorrowful fragility to the role that turned to steely resolve in the fourth act.
Adrienne Kerr came on powerfully as the evil black swan Odile in the third act, relishing her role as seductress and saboteur and sealing Odettes fate. Kerr always shows herself as a strong technician and a dynamic performer, and nailed this difficult role.
Dancer Andrew Taft usually cast as a clown fit into the role of Prince Siegfried nicely. He handled his jump-and-tour filled variations and tricky partnering with both ballerinas wonderfully.
The entire company shone. The first act pas de trois set the tone with excellent performances by Lauren Menger, Elizabeth Herrmann-Barreto and Daniel Ojeda.
Fortunately, Ballet Idaho performed Balanchines Serenade at the top of the season. Working on that piece with diligence and attention to detail became a primer for Swan Lake. The swan corps entrance in Act II was fantastic and moving with a sea of white.
Their lines were clear, every finger, every head tilt was beautifully in sync. The cherry on top of this delicious production was Robert Franz and the Boise Philharmonic accompanying.
The live music added depth and heart to the performance, allowing the dancers a certain freedom to work within Tchaikovskys nearly perfect score.
At the beginning of the night, Anastos announced that the philharmonics presence to commemorate the fifth anniversary of J.R. Simplots death.
As Franz watched the dancers, he created wonderful intersections between movement and sound.
Dana Oland: 377-6442, Twitter: @IDS_DanaOland