ABT’s Home Run

July 1, 2007

Nina Ananiashvili and Angel Corella knocked it out of the park in Swan Lake at ABT last Thursday. They dazzled, they glowed; they were rooted in their technique but also gave us a good show. As Odette, she was not only an object of pathos but a bold presence that radiated outward toward the audience. Those long arms have a hint of wing-like wildness. When she wrapped his arms around her and leaned back into him, her lips parted in tortured ecstasy. And the ripple effect of her arms (which I have seen in her amazing Dying Swan) sent a ripple of sighs through the audience. At intermission, people were abuzz.

    Their timing with each other was superb. In the Black Swan coda, her super-fast fouettés were bookended by thrilling turns from him. They built up to a fabulous climax of pirouettes that you wouldn’t believe if I told you the number of them (if I could’ve counted them.)

One could never fault these two for being overly careful. Ananiashvili kicked a leg here and there (as opposed to developing slowly or lowering with control), and Corella jabbed an arm here and there. But that layer of carelessness was part of their charm. If they were singers, they would be belters, not crooners. What made it thrilling was not the “chemistry” between them, but their equal willingness to project toward us. They are such terrific performers that you forget about looking for the perfect detail and take the ride on their roller coaster of drama and joy.