World Ballet Series Casts A Spell in Charlottesville With Swan Lake

World Ballet Series "Swan Lake" at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, VA on 2/22/2024. Photo credit: Dave Pearson

Charlottesville, VA – I don’t believe it. They say ballet is a French word with roots in Latin and Italian with a the meaning, “to dance”. I think the language scholars have it all wrong, as having reviewed a few ballet companies now, I can say it is so much more than the dance. If I were to guess the roots of the word, the first word that comes to mind is, “Magic“.

As it turns out, there are so many that have never had the opportunity to live the ballet experience. I remember my first time, thinking is is all about the dance only to be blown away as a spell of movement and music is cast over them once the magic begins. 

Thankfully there are dance companies like the World Ballet Company, based out of Los Angeles. Their mission in life is to deliver their magic across the US, often to communities with little ballet exposure, and mesmerize audiences with the beauty, grace, and the story that would be ballet.  

On February 22, 2024, at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville, VA, the World Ballet Series presented a stellar performance of the Tchaikovsky classic, “Swan Lake“.

Early on I realized the magic was not about the dance, it was about the story. The dance is, however, what made the story magical. From the opening curtain the beauty and grace of Princess Odette (Darya Medovskaya) captures the heart and eye of not just the audience, but also of the charismatic and very evil Rothbart (Maksim Vlas). He falls in love with the princess, only to be shunned by her. In an fit or rage, he curses her to live the life of a swan, lest she can win the heart of another. Memories of fairy tales, cherished in my childhood, filled my mind. 

Swan Lake Gallery 1

No tale of royalty and evil would be complete without a prince coming of age and numerous maidens seeking his favor. Enter Prince Siegfried (Krill Popov), a noble (but wise) young man, not in a hurry to get tied down. To counter the Prince’s courteous but aloof attitude toward those who wished to wish his heart, the jester (Konstantin Geronik provided the comic relief and very well done!) lightened up the event. As the night wears on, the Queen (Jeanne Berthet) gifts the prince crossbow, which seemed to capture his heart more than the ladies-in-waiting. Bored, he sends them all away and goes on a hunt. 

Little did he know the magical turn this hunt would take. Approaching the lake he notices a flock of beautiful swans. In a magical moment, the Corps de ballet (I hope I got the term right) transforms the lovely swans into beautiful young ladies as the sun sets. The prince immediately falls in love with lovely Odette. She tells him of the evil Rothbart’s curse and he vows his eternal love for her. As the sun rises, she, along with the other once again transformed swans, takes to the lake. 

With the hunt over, as was customary as a prince comes of age, the Queen throws a huge ball at which the prince was to make his final choice for his bride. The prince does not show much enthusiasm… until a stranger, the one called Rothbart, enters with his daughter, Odile (also Darya Medovskaya). Odile has a remarkable resemblance to Odette and Siegfried believes his true love has accompanied the stranger. Their Pas de Deux is as beautiful as it is deceptive. At the end, he swears his love for Odile, thinking she is the love of his life, Odette. Evil magic appears to have won the day. 

Of course, this brings great sadness to the swans on the lake, as Siegfried’s betrayal will surely result in their eternal swanhood. As the prince approaches the shore, he realizes he has been tricked, begging Odette to forgive his blind error. Enraged by this turn of events, Rothbart turns nature against the lovers, creating a storm, certain to lead to their demise. Armed with the gifted crossbow, Siegfried endures the storm, challenges Rothbart, taking his life and ending his curse on Odette and the others. In one final dance, they, for the first time welcome the rising sun as Siegfried and Odette. 

Swan Lake Gallery 2 

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There are so many things I can say about the experience. As one who perhaps knows a little more about ballet than the stereotypical metalhead, I can say I am in love with the art. It is pure magic. I do not know the technical details and, in a way, I prefer it that way because it allows me to enjoy it for what it is, pure magic, grace and beauty. The ability to tell such a wonderful tale only with music and movement, no words, is fascinating to me. As I watched the story told by World Ballet Company, I again realized the power of sight and melody, especially when experienced in a group setting. In the days of YouTube and the internet, we lose the contagion known as an audience, where our feelings are amplified by the feelings of those surrounding us. World Ballet Series, Swan Lake, was a truly fascinating experience. I think it is wonderful that they tour the land, often going to areas with little ballet exposure, to deliver their magic. This will be a performance I will never forget nor will the lucky people of Charlottesville who shared the experience with me. 

For a complete brochure of this production, click here


Odette / Odile – Darya Medovskaya
Prince – Krill Popov
Rothbart – Maksim Vlas
Queen – Jeanne Berthet
Jester – Konstantin Geronik
Prince’s Tutor / Head of Ceremonies – Ilya Turock

Pas de Trois
Yevgeniy Rybkin
Haruka Nomura
Ekaterina Lukianova

Little Swans
Haruka Nomura
Tatyana Suliak
Katerina Artemenko
Yuka Ozaki

Big Swans
Ekaterina Lukianova
Ekaterina Malkovich Aleksandra Morozova
Shuko Tayama

Black Swans
Shuko Tayama
Jeanne Bouvier Berthet
Adelya Nazyrova
Lubov Geronik
Liia Biisheva
Mizuki Matsumoto

Alexandr lshchenko Vagiz Sultanov
Yuka Ozaki
Joy Gillian Redington

Spanish Dance
Saadi lmankulov
Eldiiar Marat Uulu
Aisalkyn Suiumbaeva
Makiko Miyasho
Shuko Tayama

Hungarian Dance
Erlan Mederbekov
Angelina Zgurskaya
Maksim Alasheev
Alexandr Korobtsov
Liia Biisheva
Lubov Geronik

Russian Dance
Edyta Anna Russ
Aleksandra Morozova
Victoriia Mazina

Eldiiar Marat Uulu
Maksim Alasheev
Nuradil Abdynazaro
Yevgeniy Rybkin
Ekaterina Malkovich
Katerina Artemenko

Ekaterina Lukianova
Haruka Nomura
Yuki Otsuka
Tatyana Suliak
Mizuki Matsumoto
Alina Rybakova

Creative Staff

Sasha Gorskaya
Gulya Hartwick

Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov
lovingly retouched by:
Nadezhda Kalinina

Set & Costume Designer:
Sergey Novikov

Vadim Nikitin