As Odile, Ms. Fairchild showed some slither and hints of bad-girl satisfaction. But this performance was also too tame, too contained. The confidence and daring that have recently loosened up her dancing werenât yet evident. The roleâs technical challenges seemed not to bother her, yet even that proficiency was dramatically flattening. There was not enough danger in her Odile to make her thrilling, just as there was not enough vulnerability in her Odette to make her tragic.
The idea that technical excellence might prove insufficient â and possibly an impediment â was raised in more extreme form by Ms. Peckâs performance. Moment to moment, she looked every inch the traditional Swan Queen: the rippling shoulders and arms, the long lines, the picture-perfect positions. Some moments went beyond that, as when the force of her dancing made it seem that she might fly away.
Ms. Peckâs Odile was diamond-sharp. She used her mastery of timing to wow her Siegfried (Chase Finlay) with stop-on-a-dime phrasing. And the famous feat of fouettÃ© turns by the dozen gave her even less trouble than they had Ms. Fairchild. Ms. Peck mixed in extra revolutions.
Right after she passed that test, her face broke into a real smile. It illuminated the pleasure and freedom that had been missing before. With her extraordinary prowess, Ms. Peck can afford to be more reckless, to enjoy herself more. Her entire performance was studded with glimmers of fresh thought, down to her final exit as Odette, with part of her clinging…