“The roles (of Odette and Odile) are very challenging technically, physically and mentally,” said Kusuzaki, a native of Ehime, Japan. “On top of that, you're becoming a swan so there are nuances of a bird that you need to express.
“The white swan (Odette) is very feminine and vulnerable. In my view, she's a little bit embarrassed she has become this swan but she does command the entire flock of swans. The black swan (Odile) is a more seductive, confident and flirtatious being. She has a playfulness about her but she knows exactly how to get the prince.”
Coomer, who hails from Birkenhead, England, said he has tried to draw from his own life experience to bring Prince Siegfried vividly to life. He believes an honest portrayal will help audiences better connect to the story rather than just noticing the dancers' techniques.
“It's like meeting a girl for the first time and finding out her likes and dislikes,” Coomer said recently during a break from rehearsals. “I play a bachelor who meets this being that really just flips my life around. I like my single life but when I meet my soul mate Odette, it changes what you want out of life. The same thing happened to me when I met (the person who would become) my wife.”
Levine, who will conduct this performance of “Swan Lake,” grew up in Lakewood, a town in east central New Jersey that was a retirement community for members of the celebrated Ballets Russes.
His contact with those dancers, along with family trips to New York to attend the ballet, ingrained in him a love for the art form. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, Levine served as conductor of the Maryland Ballet.
“I've known ‘Swan Lake' from a very early age,” Levine said. “It isn't just a ballet, it is the ballet. I've programmed music from this ballet on two concerts with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic because it features such glorious music. This is a milestone moment for the performing arts in Oklahoma City. It is a big step forward (for this company), which is very exciting.”
Mills and ballet master Jacob Sparso will discuss the historical significance of “Swan Lake” at 7:15 p.m. Saturday. Jane Vorburger, director of the Oklahoma City Ballet School, will talk about the fable of “Swan Lake” and the art of pantomime at 1 p.m. April 21. The Sunday performance will be followed by a “Meet and Greet” with the dancers. Cookies and punch will be served.