Pacific Northwest Ballet
‘Dancing Odette/Odile: Ballet’s Great Dual Role’ : Panel Discussion
by Francis Timlin
September 16, 2003 -- The Phelps Center, Seattle
On Tuesday evening, I attended
a panel discussion featuring the five ballerinas who will perform Odette/Odile
in the current performance run of “Swan Lake.” Moderated by Doug Fullington,
the panel included Patricia Barker, Carrie Imler, Louise Nadeau, Kaori
Nakamura and Noelani Pantastico. They bring a wide range of experience
and perspective to their interpretation of Odette/Odile. This is the third
time around for Ms. Barker (who performed the roles in 1992 and 1996);
the second for Ms. Nadeau (1996); and the first for Ms. Nadeau and Ms.
Pantastico. Ms. Nakamura performed only the Black Swan with the Royal
Winnipeg Ballet in 1994; however, she performed both roles when she was
15 in Japan.
Patricia Barker indicated that
she thinks that everyone can find aspects of both characters somewhere
in their experience and it becomes a matter of tapping into that reserve
where the experience resides. She continues to find Odette to be the greater
challenge. On one level, it is the challenge of being, first, a swan
who transforms into a woman who is then fearful, defensive and trying
to escape, then becoming emotionally vulnerable. Showing all of those
transformations. Making a difference between the Act 2 and Act 4 pas de
deux. Following the sadness and resignation of the Act 4 pas de deux with
a retransformation into a swan. Odette is all about character development,
nuance and subtlety -- all of which requires baring your emotional soul
to the audience. There is no "hiding behind technique" possible.
In order for the performance to be a success, the audience must see all
of these transformations in Odette's character.
For a report on Pacific Northwest Ballet's "Swan Lake" preview rehearsal, click here.
Edited by Jeff.
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