Dance academy

Taos Dance Academy will present Swan Lake | Culture

The Taos Dance Academy (TDA) performs the ballet “Swan Lake” with invigorating choreography and a remastered script at the Taos Center for the Arts on May 20 and 21 at 6 p.m. Kathleen Martin, director of the TDA, said the “message behind our rendition of ‘Swan Lake’ is regardless of how difficult a situation is or how high a mountain you have to climb, you have to try. Work on overcoming your biggest obstacles and surround yourself with people (or swans) who support and empower you.”

Martin said the script for this ballet is filled with human drama and twists and turns. “It takes place in a castle in the heart of a large and magnificent forest. Outside the castle, maidens, peasants and royalty gather to celebrate their beloved princess as she prepares to accept the role of queen. As the townspeople celebrate their next queen, a villain named Von Rothbart was unhappy with Odette’s choice as queen. Out of jealousy and indignation, Von Rothbart curses Princess Odette and all her maidens into a flock of swans. With their souls trapped inside the bodies of swans, Princess Odette and her young daughters spend their time swimming in the lake, eager to return to the castle as humans. With her evil curse in place, Von Rothbart wastes no time presenting her own choice as queen, Odile. Although she is the opposite of Princess Odette, he tricks the townspeople into worshiping and revering his evil counterpart. Quickly, the kingdom is convinced that Odile should be the next queen of the country. While swimming in the lake, Odette learns of the diabolical plan and decides to act. With the help of her friends, she regains her strength and challenges Von Rothbart and his muse Odile, to claim her right to be the next true queen. Odette flies into the castle with her flock of swans and tries to remind her kingdom that she is the true future queen. Although its spirit is strong, evil and wickedness have already flooded the minds of its inhabitants. Von Rothbart crowns Odile as queen and Princess Odette and her maidens remain swans forever.

The ballet “Swan Lake” features three main characters: Odette, the cursed white swan; Odile, the vicious black swan; and Von Rothbart, the wicked man who placed the curse on the swan. Two of the principal dancers will be graduating from Taos High School this year.

Adelaide Driver, dancing the role of Odette, plans to attend Bard College in New York on a presidential scholarship, shared that she is “incredibly excited to have the opportunity to dance this role.” Driver said: “Growing up, my biggest role model in the studio performed Odette’s swan variation and I’ll never forget it. Ever since, learning this variation has been a personal goal of mine. It’s been a dream come true to be able to play the role of Odette.”

Senior graduate Grace Lerner will star as the villainous Von Rothbart. She said, “After I graduate, I plan to go to Montana State University. At MSU, I want to major in environmental science and minor in art. I’m excited to dancing this role because it’s a lead role and I really enjoy the style that my dances are programmed in. Von Rothbart will be very memorable to me because I’m not used to playing the evil characters and because this is my last performance with Taos Dance Academy.

The third main character is the evil swan, Odile, danced by Emmasofia Hayett, who shared that she was “really excited to be able to play this role but also extremely nervous to do it in front of a live audience. It’s an incredible opportunity for me to be able to both improve my technique and expand my character representation.”

There are two different ticket categories for the show. Audience members can come to the TCA for a live theatrical experience or purchase a video ticket which includes a live stream feature and the ability to view the performance via a video link. It’s the best of both worlds with an in-person ticket and a second alternative for people who can’t attend the live show.

For more details and to purchase tickets, visit the TDA website taosdance.com.