#TBT: Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel in "Swan Lake" (1999)
This February, New York City Ballet presented Peter Martin’s two-act version of Swan Lake. In her New York Times review, Gia Kourlas reminisced about some of NYCB’s past Odette/Odiles, pointing to a masterful, and high stakes, 1999 “Live From Lincoln Center” performance starring Miranda Weese and Damian Woetzel. With just an hour’s notice, Weese stepped in to dance the Swan Queen for an injured Darci Kistler. The live television broadcast was Weese and Woetzel’s first time dancing these roles together, though you’d never know; in this clip of the White Swan pas de deux the pair looks connected and utterly captivating.
Weese is a luscious Odette, with supple extensions and a deep cambré that show softness despite the brisk tempo. She pulls out the drama in the score’s yearning high notes, using her long, expressive neck and fluttering wrists to conjure an image of the part-bird, part-human creature. Woetzel reveals his tenderness through his partnering; perhaps the result of their last-minute pairing, he follows and responds to Weese’s every move, giving the duet the freshness of a first meeting. Profoundly talented performers, both Weese and Woetzel have gone on to train and inspire new generations of dancers; Weese on the faculty of Boston Ballet School and Woetzel as the president of The Juilliard School and artistic director of the Vail Dance Festival. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!