Moscow Festival Ballet delivers spellbinding 'Swan Lake' performance

Members of the Moscow Festival Ballet perform at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in Storrs, Connecticut on Friday, April 1, 2016. (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus)

The Moscow Festival Ballet put on a spellbinding performance of “Swan Lake” at the University of Connecticut’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts Friday night.

The stand-out performer of the night was Olga Gudkova. Her dancing was delicate and graceful, perfectly embodying the melancholy spirit of the ballet’s main character, the beautiful but cursed Swan Queen Odette.

Swan Lake is widely considered one of the greatest classical ballets for a reason – its plot is incredibly compelling and moving. 

The ballet tells the story of Odette, who was cursed by the evil sorcerer Rothbart. Each night, Odette and her companions are human, but during the day they are transformed into swans. The evil spell will only be lifted when Odette finds true love.

When the headstrong Prince Siegfried stumbles across Odette, he is captivated by her beauty and swears his undying love to her, but Odette warns him that if he breaks his oath, nothing will be able to get rid of the curse.

Rothbart later tries to trick Prince Siegfried into falling in love with his daughter Odylle, who looks just like Odette, but the prince must resist their tricks in order to save his true love.

This powerful plot was greatly enhanced by the skillful dancing of the Moscow Festival Ballet. Each performer was clearly experienced and moved with astounding poise and precision. 

The show’s stunning set, the actors’ exquisitely elaborate costumes and Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s timeless score made the experience all the more magical and difficult for the audience to tear their eyes away from.

Though the show contained four acts and was more than two hours long, it seemed to fly by, and the audience appeared to fully enjoy every moment of it. At the ballet’s conclusion, the theatre was filled with thunderous applause. 

“I think they did a really, really good job. I really, really like it. Their movements are really precise. It looks like they put a lot of hard work into it, and the whole theme is just really nice,” said Lynette Rojas, a sixth-semester psychology major at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Two UConn students, Erin Dunn, a fourth-semester political science and human rights major, and Hannah Lickteig, a fourth-semester human development and family studies major, also enjoyed the ballet.

“Both of us thought that the show was really, really good – mesmerizing, in fact. We used to dance together, so we’ve seen some ballets before, and this was definitely a very good performance of ‘Swan Lake,’” Dunn said. “The dancer that danced the part of Odette was fantastic.”


Helen Stec is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at helen.stec@uconn.edu.