Ballet Preljocaj Review: Keeping the Story Alive


Jean Claude-Carbonne

Ballet Prejlocaj: Gravity performs in the Chateau de Versailles.

Aico Miao, Staff Writer

Anjelin Preljocaj and the infamous Ballet Preljocaj last toured in Michigan in 2012 with Snow White. Now they’re back with a message to send– through a modern, industrial twist on a ballet classic: Swan Lake.

Swan Lake, composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Julius Reisinger, is a difficult piece to take on, as it’s one of the most famous Ballets ever created. Preljocaj himself describes it as an “Everest”. 

Every element of a performance is important, not just the dancing. The mixed choreography and music, intentional lighting, and video design all complimented each other to create a beautiful story. Vicky Wang, who played young Snow White from the Ballet Preljocaj’s previous visit, describes the costume design as “modern, edgy 21st century but still with elements from the ballet”. Wang now works with UMS, the very group that collaborated with Preljocaj on the show she starred in 11 years ago. 

“It’s like a full circle moment,” Wang said. 

For the choreography, Preljocaj transitions from contemporary and modern with bits of ballet, to ballet with bits of contemporary, to either fully modern or fully ballet with each act. It deviates from the original choreography by Reisinger yet still pays homage in certain scenes. In an interview for the SF Dance Film Festival, Preljocaj describes the original Swan Like as “ a skeleton–the structure”. 

“And on this structure, I tried to put new flesh,” he said.

The Ballet Preljocaj received almost a 5-minute standing ovation from the audience. Swan Lake has been popular since the late 1800s and artists like Preljocaj keep Tchaikovsky’s legacy alive.