American Ballet Theatre and the Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra are together again to perform the ultimate storybook ballet, Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The ballet features America’s biggest ballet stars portraying the tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and Princess Odette and their attempt to break the spell that turns her into a swan each morning. With its iconic “Dance of the Little Swans” and its famous 32 fouetté turns, Swan Lake is a must-see ballet experience.
ABT’s production “glides to the forefront of stagings all over the world. The fabled lake of the swans has risen into view, inspiring awe for its mystery and magic.” (The Wall Street Journal)
Ballet in four acts
Music: Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Choreography: Marius Petipa
Premiere: 1895 in St. Petersburg
Choreography by Kevin McKenzie
after Marius Petipa, Lev Ivanov
Scenery and Costumes by Zack Brown
Performed in two acts
Running time about 2 ½ hours including intermission
Joo Won Ahn
April 18 Matinee
April 18 Matinee
April 18 Evening
April 18 Evening
Born in Pennsylvania, Devon Teuscher began her dance training at the age of nine under Deanna Doty of the Champaign Urbana Ballet Academy in Champaign, IL.
From 2002 to 2006 Teuscher attended American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive, and was a National Training Scholar from 2003 to 2006.In January 2005, Teuscher relocated to New York City to dance at American Ballet Theatre’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School on full scholarship.
Teuscher joined ABT’s Studio Company in 2006 where she danced leading roles in Raymonda, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and various works by Jessica Lang.She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in December 2007 and the corps de ballet in June 2008. She became a Soloist in August 2014 and Principal Dancer in September 2017.
Born on Long Island, New York, Cory Stearns began his classical training at the age of five with Mme. Valia Seiskaya at the Seiskaya Ballet. At age fifteen, he participated in the Youth America Grand Prix and was offered a full scholarship to The Royal Ballet School in London.Upon graduating with honors, he received, for the second year, the Dame Ruth Railton Award for excellence in dance.
Stearns joined the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company in September 2004, the main Company as an apprentice in January 2005 and became a member of the corps de ballet in January 2006. He was appointed a Soloist in January 2009 and a Principal Dancer in January 2011.
Born in Sun Valley, Idaho, Isabella Boylston began dancing at the age of three. While training at the Academy of Colorado Ballet, she won the gold medal in 2001 at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. In 2002, she began training at the Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, on a full scholarship.
Boylston joined the ABT Studio Company in 2005, the main Company as an apprentice in May 2006 and the corps de ballet in March 2007. She was promoted to Soloist in June 2011 and to Principal Dancer in August 2014.
Joo Won Ahn
Joo Won Ahn is originally from Wonju, Korea and began his formal training in 2006 at Y.J. Ballet People Academy and Sun Hwa Art School. Ahn won the Silver Medal at the Korean International Ballet Competition and 3rd Prize at the 2012 Varna International Ballet Competition in Bulgaria. Ahn was invited to join the ABT Studio Company in 2013 after winning the Gold Medal at Youth America Grand Prix in New York City.
Ahn joined ABT as an apprentice in January 2014 and the corps de ballet in June 2014. He was promoted to Soloist in September 2019.
April 18 Matinee
Christine Shevchenko was born in Odessa, Ukraine where she was chosen to train in rhythmic gymnastics and ballet at an Olympic School. At the age of eight, she moved to the United States and trained for nine years at Pennsylvania Ballet’s Rock School.
Shevchenko joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in December 2007 and the corps de ballet in June 2008. She became a Soloist in 2014 and a Principal Dancer in September 2017.
April 18 Matinee
Thomas Forster was born in London, England and began his ballet training at the age of eight with The Royal Ballet School Associate Programme. At 11, he commenced full-time dance training at the Elmhurst School of Dance and then joined the Upper School of The Royal Ballet School in 2002. Forster’s performing experience includes principal roles in The Royal Ballet School’s performances on stage at the Royal Opera House and on The Royal Ballet School’s graduation tour to Japan and New York in 2005. He has also performed with The Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and English National Ballet.
Forster joined ABT’s Studio Company in May 2006, the main Company, as an apprentice, in January 2007 and the corps de ballet in December 2007.
April 18 Evening
Born in Seoul, South Korea, Hee Seo began her ballet training in her hometown at the Sun-hwa Arts Middle School. She was awarded a three-year full scholarship to continue her training at the Universal Ballet Academy in Washington, D. C. In 2003, Seo won a scholarship to train at the John Cranko Ballet Academy in Stuttgart. She is the recipient of the 2003 Prix de Lausanne Award and the 2003 Grand Prix at the Youth American Grand Prix in New York.
Seo joined ABT’s Studio Company in 2004 and the main Company as an apprentice in May 2005 and the corps de ballet in March 2006.
April 18 Evening
Aran Bell was born in Bethesda, Maryland. He began studying ballet at age four, receiving the majority of his early training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and with Denys Ganio in Rome, Italy. He continued his training with Fabrice Herrault in New York City and Magaly Suarez in Florida. He spent several summers at The Royal Ballet School in London, and at American Ballet Theatre’s Summer Intensive in New York City.
Bell’s awards include the Hope Award at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City in 2009 and 2010, followed by the Junior Grand Prix in 2011, Grand Prix at the Milan International Ballet Competition (2010), the Premio Positano (2011), the Premio Amalfi Young Talent Award (2012), Gold Medal at Tanzolymp Berlin (2012), Gold Medal and Audience Choice Award at Rieti International Ballet Competition (2012), the Premio Roma Jia Ruskaja (2012) and the Premio Capri Danza International Award (2014). He has performed in galas throughout Europe and the United States. Bell was featured in the 2011 film First Position: A Ballet Documentary.
Bell joined ABT Studio Company in September 2014, joined the main Company as an apprentice in May 2016 and became a member of the corps de ballet in March 2017. He was promoted to Soloist in September 2019.
Raised in Florence, South Carolina, Gillian Murphy was a member of Columbia City Ballet before attending high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
In 1995, at the age of 15, Murphy was awarded the Prix de Lausanne Espoir after performing in the final round of the Prix de Lausanne international ballet competition at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.
Murphy joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in August 1996, was promoted to Soloist in 1999 and Principal Dancer in 2002. Her repertoire with the Company includes Nikiya and Gamzatti in La Bayadère, the Ballerina in The Bright Stream, Cinderella in Frederick Ashton’s Cinderella, Cinderella in James Kudelka’s Cinderella, Swanilda in Coppélia, Medora and Gulnare in Le Corsaire, Kitri in Don Quixote, Titania in The Dream, the Accused in Fall River Legend, the second girl in Fancy Free, Lise in La Fille mal gardée, the pas de deux Flames of Paris, Grand Pas Classique, Giselle and Myrta in Giselle, the Queen of Hearts in Jeu de Cartes, Known by Heart pas de deux, Manon in Lady of the Camellias, Lescaut’s Mistress in Manon, the Sugar Plum Fairy in Kevin McKenzie’s The Nutcracker, Desdemona in Othello, Other Dances, Hagar in Pillar of Fire, Raymonda in Raymonda, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Princess Aurora in Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Sylvia in Sylvia, and many others.
Born in Fairfield, Connecticut, James Whiteside began his training at age nine at the D’Valda & Sirico Dance and Music Centre, where guest faculty included Charles Kelley, Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens. Whiteside joined the corps de ballet of Boston Ballet in 2003 and became a second soloist in 2006. He was promoted to first soloist in 2008 and to principal dancer with Boston Ballet in 2009.
Whiteside joined American Ballet Theatre as a Soloist in September 2012 and was named a Principal Dancer in October 2013.
Long before our story begins, Odette, a beautiful princess, falls under the spell of von Rothbart, a wicked sorcerer.
The Prince’s Birthday Party: It is Prince Siegfried’s twenty‑first birthday and he is celebrating with friends. The Queen Mother arrives to give him his present, a crossbow, and reminds him that, as he is to become King, he must choose a bride at the ball the next evening. She leaves, bidding him to enjoy himself, but reminding him again to think about his royal obligation to be wed. Siegfried, realizing that his carefree days are at an end, leaves the party at the height of the festivities to seek the solace of the woods. Benno, his friend, finds him and suggests they go hunting. Siegfried declines, preferring to be alone.
Some hours later. By the Lake: Prince Siegfried enters a moonlit clearing in the forest and sees a magnificent swan in flight. He carefully takes aim, but, to his astonishment, the bird transforms into a breathtakingly beautiful girl, and he withdraws into the trees to observe her.
Unable to resist his curiosity, he steps out, only to startle and frighten her. He assures her he will do her no harm and asks her to explain the marvel he has just seen. Impressed by his gentleness, Odette unburdens the story of her plight. She tells him she is a Princess of high birth who fell under the spell of an evil sorcerer, and now her fate is to be a swan; only in the hours of darkness may she assume her human guise. Indeed, this very lake is filled with her mother’s tears. She tells him she is condemned for eternity, and only if a virgin youth swears eternal fidelity to her and marries her can she find release. Only then can the spell be broken. But if he should forswear her, then she must remain a swan forever. At that moment the sorcerer appears. The Prince, in his passion, reaches for his crossbow, but Odette immediately protects the sorcerer with her body, for she knows that if he is killed before the spell is broken, she too will die. The sorcerer disappears, and Odette slips away into the forest. Siegfried realizes his fate is now entwined with hers. Dawn approaches and Odette is compelled by the spell to return to her guise as a swan. Siegfried is left awestruck.
The Great Hall: Heralds and trumpets announce the start of the ball. Eligible young princesses from all over the world arrive to be introduced to Prince Siegfried so that he may choose a bride. They present their national dances for the entertainment of the Prince and the Queen Mother. The prospective brides dance for them, and the Queen Mother reminds Siegfried that he must choose one for his wife. As Siegfried struggles with his responsibility to marry, his mind remains with Odette and he cannot choose. Trumpets announce an un-invited guest. It is von Rothbart with his daughter Odile. Siegfried is seduced by her, as von Rothbart holds the court in thrall. Siegfried announces his intention to marry Odile.
Von Rothbart asks Siegfried to swear fidelity. He realizes too late that he has been the victim of a terrible plot. The scene darkens; Odette is seen at the castle door, weeping. Grief-stricken, Siegfried rushes to the lakeside.
The lakeside: A great storm rages. Siegfried, bursting into the glade, discovers Odette and begs her forgiveness. Odette tells Siegfried she must kill herself, or she will forever be a swan. Siegfried, knowing that his destiny is forever changed, declares he will die with her, thus breaking von Rothbart’s power over her.
As dawn approaches, von Rothbart appears. The lovers answer his threat by throwing themselves into the lake. Von Rothbart is vanquished and his power ended. The lovers are united in life after death.
Lead Presenting Sponsor
2019-20 Spring Season made possible through the generosity of
The UMS/MOT Dance Partnership is made possible through the generous support of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan
2019-20 Dance Season
made possible through the generosity of
Joanne and Richard Brodie
Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation
with additional support from
Joanne Danto and Dr. Arnold Weingarden
Jeremy Zeltzer and Kevin Dennis
Donald and Antoinette Morelock