Kirov Ballet | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Kirov Ballet 

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Balletomanes might quarrel over the relative strengths of this or that prima ballerina, but the fact is, when it comes to the Kirov, you really can't go wrong. This is the first time the full company has performed here in 16 years, and a different dancer is scheduled to play Odette/Odile in each performance of its Swan Lake, choreographed by Konstantin Sergeyev after Petipa and Ivanov. Judging by the two ballerinas I saw on DVD, the approaches may vary--one might emphasize steely physical control, another the characters' emotional shifts--but the level of expertise won't. It helps that the Kirov's own 66-piece orchestra supports and underscores each dancer's quirks of phrasing and musicality. And when you're watching the famed Russian corps in Swan Lake, you don't think about the training and absolute control necessary to maintain such flawless precision. Instead you see a living backdrop for the story, a floating, musical matrix of white that frames the Swan Queen and her Prince. a Through 11/5: Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress, 312-902-1500, 312-922-2110, ext. 357, for groups of ten or more, $30-$125.

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