‘Swan Lake’ splendor: Costumes by world-renowned designer enhance ballet

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INTERLOCHEN — Interlochen Arts Academy brings to life timeless themes of the magic, romance and tragedy in its holiday production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” ballet.

Engaging audiences since 1877, the classic ballet debuts Dec. 6-8 at Interlochen’s Corson Auditorium. It’s a departure from past holiday ballet productions which often rotated between Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” and “The Sleeping Beauty.”

“The music is beautiful, moving, exciting,” said Interlochen’s Director of Dance Joseph Morrissey. “Together with the dancing and lavish costumes, it will move people in a different way than past performances.”

The production directed by Morrissey showcases 42 Interlochen Arts Academy dancers and 16 theater majors. It’s accompanied by the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra conducted by Dr. Leslie B. Dunner.

“Swan Lake” tells the tragic love story of Prince Siegfried and the Swan Princess Odette who are deceived by Odette’s evil twin Odile.

Austin Dabney performs the role of Prince Siegfried. Dabney, who has danced since the age of 13, long dreamed of performing the part. He said the fairy tale of doomed love remains relatable to contemporary audiences.

“The prince is an ordinary guy,” Dabney said. “It’s about making choices and breaking a girl’s heart — a story you could hear today.”

Bringing opposite characters to life was the challenge for Ilianna Mendyk, who dances the dual roles of Odette/Odile.

“It’s challenging to figure out how to present the soft and sweet Odette and devious Odile all within 10 minutes,” said Mendyk.

Morrissey said the Interlochen production incorporates “Swan Lake’s” original choreography template still used by major ballet companies in choreography tailored to the three companies of student dancers. The production also features a new dance.

Rich visuals enhance the theater experience.

“The set is a total game-changer among the ballets we have presented,” Morrissey said.

Professional costumes by a world-renowned designer add elegance. One hundred thirty John Conklin-designed costumes acquired from the Boston Ballet professional classical ballet company bring a world-class element to Interlochen’s production. The famed costume and set designer is known for his work for premier venues such as the Metropolitan Opera, London’s Royal Opera and scores of other American and European stages. The opulent costumes are made from velvets, brocades and silk with gold metallic trim, said Interlochen Costume Designer Risa Alecci.

“We have rented costumes in the past,” said Alecci. “The fact that we own these costumes is new and exciting. The fabric and trim are incredible. It would have taken us a year to build them for a production this large.”

Fourteen swan costumes created in-house were built from multiple layers of lace, jewels, sequins and feathers.

“There’s at least 23 feathers to every swan and thousands of rhinestones and sequins — some hand applied,” Alecci said.

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The costumes sparkle and shimmer beneath the spotlights.

“I think they make the production even more real,” said Zachary Brickson, who dances the Prince and evil magician roles.

Alecci said the students’ joy in wearing the elegant costumes flows straight to the hearts of the audience.

Venue partnerships allow the “Swan Lake” production to go on the road following Interlochen performances. Morrissey said touring is an important training opportunity introducing students to the life of professional ballet dancers.

Interlochen students will take the ballet to the Cheboygan Opera House Dec. 15-16, to the new Great Lakes Center for the Arts at Bay Harbor Feb. 22, 2019 and to the Midland Center for the Arts April 26, 2019.

Tickets for Corson Auditorium performances are $29 for adults, $26 for seniors and $11 for youth at tickets.Interlochen.org. Visit individual venue websites for Cheboygan, Bay Harbor and Midland performances.

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Source : https://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/swan-lake-splendor-costumes-by-world-renowned-designer-enhance-ballet/article_14012c72-53e4-5ec7-9ab6-c5b46d96199a.html