- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2005

“Swan Lake” probably tops the list of the 19th century’s greatest hits, and here it is tonight on 21st-century television, heralding the 30th anniversary of PBS’ “Great Performances: Dance in America.”

The ballet (airing at 9 p.m. on WETA-TV, Channel 26) was filmed here at the Kennedy Center a few months ago when American Ballet Theatre paid its annual visit.

It is a splendid occasion all around. Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s shimmering score is as good as it gets; the iconic choreography of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov has endured for more than 100 years (for good reason); and the additions made by ABT’s artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, bring freshness to the first act and a sizzling, sexy edge to the traditional Act 3 .

The air of illicit seduction that Mr. McKenzie introduces in his choreography for the wily Von Rothbart sets the scene for the hero’s madcap infatuation.

As that hero, the brilliant dancer Angel Corella is the focus of the ballet. When he performed the role here, he seemed a bit subdued, but the performance turns out to be just right for television — not projected to a large opera house but more intimate, lively and ardent.

In the dual role of Odette-Odile, Gillian Murphy is cool but technically dazzling — supple as Odette and a pyrotechnics wonder as Odile.

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