Siegfried gently touches her as he intervenes to become her partner. After a turn, he calms her body by holding her wrists, which are stretched above the head in a V. It’s so fragile, this bond they form; it’s all about trust. And everywhere beautiful pantomime, simple but clear, gives the dance a rare kind of poetic prowess and urgency. If Odette crosses her wrists in front of her body, it means death, and she is not ethereal about that. There is no gray line. Death means death.
Naturally, Odette loses faith in Siegfried after meeting Odile, Von Rothbart’s deceitful daughter, in the dance hall. Here, Ratmansky deviates from images of black swan – Odile’s dark, featherless dress is washed in shades of green and purple like an iridescent fish drenched in glitter. (The idea is good, but it looked a bit cheap.) Siegfried, overwhelmed by her resemblance to Odette, begs her to marry him, which is of course the wrong move.
As an Odette, Carranza was skilled, if a little unclear, and her Odile lacked glare. But it was still captivating to watch the choreography unfold, including a pose in her pas de deux with Cerdeiro in which her leg was extended in arabesque as he knelt in front of her. Suddenly she let go of his hands and let hers fall to his front knee. It was so quirky, yet logical. In a way, it’s part of her seduction: Odile is holding Siegfried by force.
But the power of Ratmansky’s Swan Lake lies in its use of groups. The peasant waltz in Act 1 — in which dancers step on and off footstools and raise their arms high and low — is the most uplifting thing you’ve ever seen, until moments later, when a maypole is erected and layers of dancers swirl around it around a human carousel. The pictures they form are so jovial, so sweet. Part of this has to do with how warm and graceful these Miami City Ballet dancers are. As George Balanchine once said, dancing Tchaikovsky’s ballets is like flying. They fly.