Classical Ballet’s Swan Lake emerging for Spring

Last season the Columbia Classical Ballet Company mounted the first full staging of Swan Lake that had graced Columbia stages in two decades. The production was a critical and commercial hit, breaking attendance records for the Classical Ballet. On March 1 the company will once again present this amazing and magical masterpiece of ballet.

Classical Ballet Artistic Director Radenko Pavlovich had long dreamed of bringing Swan Lake to life on a Columbia stage. More than a decade ago he purchased feathers for the costumes, but only last year did he feel it was the right time to dig them out of the attic.

“This is such an important work – such a masterpiece – that one shouldn’t tackle it until all the correct pieces are in place,” Pavlovich said. “We had that last season and have it again.”

The romantic ballet tells the story of Princess Odette, who has been transformed into a swan by an evil magician. During a temporary transformation back into human form, Odette and Prince Siegfried fall in love. Such a true, lasting and faithful love is the only way Odette can be freed from the spell, but the magician has other plans. He sends his daughter Odile (the “Black Swan”) to a masked ball where she tricks the prince into declaring his love for her thus condemning Odette.

In this production the roles of the white swan and the black swan will be performed by two dancers, an approach taken in some of the very first stagings of the ballet in 1890s. Principal dancer Lauren Frere, in her fifth season with the company, will take the role of Odette, with new company member Nana Yamatani dancing Odile.

“Lauren is the ideal white swan; she is such a refined dancer with long lines,” Pavlovich said. “Nana has amazing technical skills, but she also has a fire and aggression.”

The prince will be danced by another new company member. Tae Seok Kim.

“He’s very noble,” Pavlovich said. “When he steps on the stage you know he’s a prince.”

Frere, who performed both roles in last season’s production, has danced many major roles with the Classical Ballet and the Sarasota Ballet including Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, Ashton’s The Two Pigeons, Robert de Warren’s Coppelia, Firebird, Don Quixote, Giselle, Le Corsaire and Rick McCullough’s Le Sacre du Printemps. A native of Houston, Texas, she studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Yamatani began her dance training at the age of 3 in her native Japan and came to the U.S. to study at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. She has won First Place Award at the Youth America Grand Prix in Japan and the bronze medal at the World Ballet Competition in Orlando, Fl.

Kim, a native of South Korea, has been a finalist in the Beijing International Ballet Competition, Boston International Ballet Competition and Varna International Ballet Competition.

Swan Lake will be performed March 1 at 7:30 p.m. at the Koger Center for the Arts in Columbia. Individual tickets are $5 to $32 and are available by calling (803) 251-2222 or going to

Via: Columbia Classical Ballet Company