The final “Swan Lake” of the current American Ballet Theatre season introduced a promising new partnership Wednesday in Shrine Auditorium: company principal Cynthia Harvey and corps member Jeremy Collins.
Because she danced Odette-Odile two years ago in an exhaustive Royal Ballet reconstruction of the 1895 St. Petersburg “Swan Lake,” Harvey is now one of the few dancers anywhere to know the full, authentic Petipa-Ivanov choreography rather than a modern adaptation.
The experience may have heightened her sense of classicism. Not only did she look technically faultless in the Baryshnikov version on Wednesday, but her dancing remained free of the Soviet mannerisms adopted by some of her colleagues and often proved breathtaking in purity of style.
However, the feathery softness of her legato dancing as Odette, the exquisite refinement of her virtuosity as Odile, did not mask Harvey’s inconsistent mastery of expressive values. Some moments were strongly realized, others merely sketched in.
Well on his way to becoming a fine partner, Collins had obviously been carefully coached in aristocratic deportment and suavity of articulation.
But the lessons appeared far from second nature in his portrayal of Siegfried: There were over-eager and over-finicky mime passages, lapses of control in solos and a general callowness of interpretation. Still, anyone this tall and nobly proportioned won’t be allowed to fail in American ballet, so Collins will undoubtedly have more chances to polish and deepen his art.