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More Flash Reviews
Flashback, 5-10: A Review
Cisneros's Swan Song
(Editor's Note: The
Dance Insider has been revisiting its Flash
Archive. The first review ever published by the Dance
Insider -- in our Summer 1998 debut print issue -- this article
is today posted online for the first time. Evelyn Cisneros-Legate
is currently ballet education coordinator for San Francisco Ballet.)
Copyright 1998, 2006 Aimee Ts'ao
SAN FRANCISCO -- A wise
dancer knows when it's time to retire -- at her peak. Evelyn Cisneros,
who will retire after next season, is doing this, to judge by her
final "Swan Lake" May 9 with the San Francisco Ballet at the War
Memorial Opera House. Always a dramatic dancer, Cisneros showed
that she has matured tremendously as an artist since she created
Odette/Odile in Helgi Tomasson's staging ten years ago. She more
than succeeded in showing the triumph of love over evil, not an
easy task in our cynical high-tech era.
Partnered by Stephen
Legate, Cisneros steadily built her portrayal of the
White Swan through Act II, from a frightened maiden to a woman in
love believing that she will finally be released from the curse
of von Rothbart. The hesitations and doubts slowly gave way to surrender.
Particularly noteworthy was the way she used her hands in touching
the Prince, sometimes drawing her fingers away quickly in fear,
at other times letting them linger as she explored her feelings
Cisneros did not play
the Black Swan as a gloating femme fatale. How Siegfried could have
mistaken Odile for his betrothed is often hard to believe when she
seethes with seductive wiles, but Cisneros danced with a sunny exuberance
which snared him instantly. Only in her consultations with von Rothbart
did she reveal her wicked side.
Act IV was the most
moving. In confronting the Prince, Cisneros revealed Odette's pain
and confusion. As he asked for her forgiveness, she showed both
her understanding of the situation and her own mixed feelings, which
resolved into her accepting him back. Their dancing was pure bliss
-- nothing could touch them. Von Rothbart, weakened by the power
of their love, writhed and sank to the floor. This transcendent
love did conquer all.
Cisneros's ability to
layer emotions, playing not just one mood or feeling at a time,
was indicative of her artistic growth. How satisfying to see that
she never stopped exploring and developing a role right up through
her last performance.