On Sunday afternoon, I went to Ballet San Antonio‘s Swan Lake with my son, F.T., age 8, and daughter, G.N., age 5. We received our tickets for free and were able to give away a set of tickets over social media. G.N.’s friend D. and his family won the tickets. Let me tell you about how the ballet left an impression on F.T. and G.N., as well as D. and his family. I hope it will inspire you to bring your family to a Ballet San Antonio performance in the future.
After lunch, F.T. and G.N. were a little drowsy, but I asked them to get dressed. (For us, an event like this is a good excuse to get everyone dressed up, but San Antonio is a casual city, and you really don’t have to dress up for the ballet, the opera, or the symphony.) F.T. asked me, “Do I have to wear my symphony shirt?” Yes . . . but I helped with all the little buttons. G.N. picked out a purple dress and hot pink tights.
Walking up to the Tobin Center, the kids got a spring in their steps. The last time we were there was to hear the San Antonio Symphony and Mastersingers perform Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
We picked up our tickets at the box office, then went downstairs for a pre-show bathroom break. Our seats were in the rear orchestra section, which has a nicely balanced view of the stage. We said hello to some neighbors who had seats nearby.
Just before the beginning of a symphony concert, you can see the stage and watch as the musicians take their seats. At the ballet, however, the curtain is down, and the musicians are in the orchestra pit.
We heard applause and saw a spotlight pick out conductor Akiko Fujimoto as she walked to the podium. The music began, and moment later the curtain rose.
This production of Swan Lake took a traditional approach to the sets, costume and props. evoking an atmosphere of glamour and fairy tale mystery. Choreographer Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., used symmetry and spirals to create magical moments on stage. The dancers used gestures for wordless storytelling.
Watching dancers move to live music is thrilling, especially in those moments when the music bursts and a dancer leaps at the same time. Swan Lake has many familiar melodies, but this was the first time I had heard the score performed live.
The story features a young prince, Siegfried, and a princess, Odette, who is transformed into a swan by a sorcerer, Von Rothbart. F.T. and G.N. were fascinated with the evil sorcerer, as you can tell from this little essay that F.T. wrote for me after we got home.
5 sentences of: SWAN LAKE
The sorcerer Von Rothbart transforms Princess Odette into a swan while she gathers flowers.
The sorcerer Von Rothbart looks like a person with hawk wings connected to his arms & legs.
The reason why the sorcerer Von Rothbart turns Princess Odette into a swan is because he wanted to have great power over her.
A lot of more princesses appear and get rid of Von Rothbart by dancing.
I think that it was not a good choice for Von Rothbart to cause Princess Odette to become a swan.
At intermission, we went for another bathroom break, and then went to the lobby to buy M&Ms from the concession stand. On our way back to our seats for Act II, we saw Justice Luz Elena Chapa and her daughters, who take dance lessons at school.
After the show, we walked back to our car and saw G.N.’s friend D. and his family. D.’s mom, Kathryn Dormady, shared her impressions:
The consensus was that the ballet was very beautiful and very sad. It started off a bit slowly, but picked up after the intermission, and they were all very happy that the Prince and the Swan got to be together in the end. They were however sad that the evil sorcerer was such a “mean guy.”
I’m so happy we got to go. We all enjoyed it very much.
Read more about Ballet San Antonio’s Swan Lake:
- “Sunday at Swan Lake”, Ellie Leeper, Sequins and Suspenders, October 13, 2015
- “A Splendid Swan Lake”, Jasmina Wellinghoff, San Antonio Express-News, October 10, 2015
- “Swan Lake Set to Glide into Tobin Center”, Jack Morgan, Texas Public Radio, September 28, 2015
Ballet San Antonio has a new interim director, theater veteran Steven Bull. We are looking forward to more shows in Ballet San Antonio’s 2015-16 season; I hope you will bring your family to experience these performances: Nutcracker, December 4-13, 2015; Peter Pan, February 12-14, 2016; and Ballet Alive!, April 8-10, 2016. Here are F.T.’s reviews of Nutcracker from 2014 and 2013.
Disclosure: I received free tickets for my family to attend Swan Lake, and four tickets to give away over social media.