Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Oklahoma City Ballet dancers Miki Sato and Yui Sato perform part of
Swan Lake in the Devon complex during Art Moves. They will perform the lead roles Friday night,
April 19th.
Photo by Nancy Condit
By Nancy Condit

 For the first time in its 41-year history, the Oklahoma City Ballet will present a full-length production of Swan Lake, widely considered among the most technically and emotionally challenging classical ballets of all time.
The three performances are at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 19; 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 20; and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 21 at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. in Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma City Philharmonic will perform Tchaikovsky’s famous score live, conducted by Maestro Joel Levine.
“This is a milestone moment for the performing arts in Oklahoma City,” Levine said.  “Swan Lake isn’t just a ballet, it is the ballet.  The production is a ‘must see’ for OKC; it is a big step forward, and it’s very exciting.” 
“The story of Swan Lake is all about transformation,” Artistic Director Robert Mills said.  “The Oklahoma City Ballet has transformed over the past five years into a company capable of honoring the high art and transcendent power of this important ballet.  Everyone who loves the performing arts should see Swan Lake at least once in their lifetime.  The time is now for ballet in Oklahoma City.”
The ballet will be performed in three acts rather than the more traditional four-act version, an adaptation Artistic Director Robert Mills said is a trend among ballet companies. "It makes the ballet more accessible to modern audiences." Most of the iconic moments and dances in the ballet will remain.

Story synopsis: While hunting, Prince Siegfried sees an amazing swan. As he takes aim to shoot, the swan turns into a beautiful woman. The woman, Odette, tells the prince that she is a princess who has come under the spell of an evil sorcerer.  During the day she must be a swan and swim in a lake of tears.  At night she is allowed to be a human again.  The spell can only be broken if a virgin prince swears eternal fidelity to her.  She tells Prince Siegfried that if he refuses her she must remain a swan forever.

Prince Siegfried falls madly in love with Odette.  However, through a spell by the evil sorcerer, he accidentally proposes to another woman at a party, believing that the woman is really Odette.  Princess Odette feels doomed. She threatens to kill herself and throws herself into the lake.  The Prince feels terribly sorry and throws himself into the lake with her.  In an incredibly touching moment, the two are transformed into lovers in the afterlife.
Preparations for the historic production began more than a year ago and evolved into a regional effort.

Oklahoma City Ballet dancers Miki Kawamura and Yui Sato will dance the lead roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried at the Friday evening opening night performance, and soloists from the Houston Ballet, Nao Kusuzaki and Christopher Coomer, will perform the lead roles in the Saturday evening and Sunday matinee performances. 

"Although I have dancers that are technically and artistically strong enough to perform the roles of Odette/Odile and Prince Siegfried, I wanted to bring in guest artists to perform those roles simply because Swan Lake is a big production that requires many dancers.  I am happy to have two of our company dancers, Miki Kawamura and Yui Sato, dance these roles on April 19th. On the 20th and 21st they will be featured in principal roles as dancers in the first act pas de trios," Robert Mills, artistic Mills wrote in an email.
The Oklahoma City Ballet company includes 26 dancers representing six countries and 10 states in the U.S., including three dancers from Oklahoma. 

The ballet will feature beautiful sets and costumes including Prince Siegfried’s palace interior and the moonlit lakeside.  The palace scenes will be staged by Artistic Director Robert Mills and Ballet Master Jacob Sparso, inspired by the original choreography of Marius Petipa. 
The “white acts” will be staged by guest repetiteur Lisa Moon, using the original choreography of Lev Ivanov. 

Biographies of the guest artists appear after the ticket information.
Talks and family activities begin on Saturday at 7:15 p.m. The lecture on the historical significance of Swan Lake is in the south lobby.

Activities on Sunday include a 1 p.m. telling of the fable of Swan Lake while learning the art of pantomime -- storytelling through movement. Post-performance Sunday is a ‘Meet and Greet’ with the dancers directly following the Sunday matinee performance.  Refreshments will be provided by Braum’s.
Individual ticket prices range from $33 to $55 depending on section.  Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at 405.848.TOES (8637) or the Civic Center Box Office at 405-297-2264.
Lisa Moon, guest repetiteur will stage the white acts of Swan Lake.
Moon was born in Birmingham, Alabama, where she received her first training from Stevan and Melanie Grebel. Lisa was a Harkness trainee with David Howard before joining Stars of American Ballet and the Bavarian National Ballet in Munich.

During her career as a dancer in Europe and the United States, she worked with renowned artists such as Frederic Franklin, William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Lynn Seymour, John Neumeier, and Edward Caton. 

Lisa then went on to train and coach the dancers of Eugene Ballet/Ballet Idaho as the company’s Ballet Mistress. Lisa has devoted the past thirteen years of her teaching career to students and professionals in the Northwest.

Guest artists Nao Kusuzaki and Christopher from the Houston Ballet
will dance the leads Saturday and Sunday in OKC Ballet's Swan Lake.
Photo taken by Amit Ava Sarkar and Pam Francis
Nao Kusuzaki, guest artist, was born in Ehime, Japan, and grew up in Japan, Washington D.C., and Boston. In Japan, Ms. Kusuzaki trained at the Yatsuzuka Ballet. In the United States she trained with Mary Day and Patricia Berrend at the Washington School of Ballet and with Tatiana Legat, Laura Young, and Sydney Leonard at the Boston Ballet School.
Ms. Kusuzaki has danced professionally with Boston Ballet for five seasons. She has been featured in Boston Ballet's Swan Lake as a lead swan and in the pas de cinq (solo girl); in Lady of the Camellias as Dream Marguerite; in The Nutcracker in the Arabian pas de deux and Marzipan pas de trois; in Don Quixote as a lead gypsy; in Maina Gielgud's Giselle as a lead Wili; and in Rudi Van Dantzig's Ginastera. Ms. Kusuzaki was also featured as a guest artist in Ballet North's production of The Sleeping Beauty as Aurora.

With the Houston Ballet, she has danced a featured role in Stanton Welch's TuTu, Falling, and Brigade; premiered in Nosotros and Punctillius which Welch created a pas de deux. Ms. Kusuzaki has danced the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Arabian in The Nutcracker, Suzuki in Madame Butterfly, Russian Princess and solo swan in Swan Lake, Prayer in Coppelia and the 1st sylph in La Sylphide. Her repertoire also includes: Petite Mort, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Five Tangos, Voluntaries, Serenade, Velocity, Divergence, and Four Seasons.

Christopher Coomer, guest artist was born in Birkenhead, England where he trained at the Wallasey School of Ballet before coming to the United States to train at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy

In 2004 he joined the corps de ballet of Houston Ballet at the invitation of Artistic Director Stanton Welch and was promoted to soloist in 2007.  His favorite role is Couple I in Brian Enos' Spare Parts. He describes his first job with Houston Ballet as the most defining moment of his career.  Christopher has danced many soloist and principal roles with the company.

Substantial information came from the press release

No comments:

Post a Comment