This post is written by Highlands Middle School seventh grader Roxy Baker.
Note: There might be a few spoilers
I had the opportunity to attend the world premiere of the Cincinnati Ballet’s performance of King Arthur’s Camelot. Unlike many ballets, I wasn’t leaning back in my chair simply appreciating the dance and the story it told. I was on the edge of my seat in anticipation! Being the medieval history buff that I am, the performance was personally touching to me, but disregarding that, the show that the dancers put on was extremely exciting and had me gasping, tearing up, and rooting the characters on with each scene.
The opening act was particularly well done. I would say that words do not describe the effects in this scene. I was in awe by the costumes, and especially impressed by the fantastic job done by the Ladies of the Lake, portrayed by Makenzie Dessens, Milena Garcia, and Katherine Sawicki. I found myself clenching my fists as young Arthur, Charlie Klesa, cautiously made his way to Excalibur. I was silently cheering him on as wounded soldiers kneeled before him as their king. Cervilio Miguel Amador played a wonderful King Arthur, and the companionship between him and Liang Fu as Merlin was heart-warming and endearing. The enthusiasm I felt as Arthur bounded across the stage, now a man, is indescribable. The dance was remarkable.
Janessa Touchet’s play Guinevere’s innocence in her opening scene was very evident, and love-at-first-sight was an obviously predominant component as Arthur and his future queen initially met in the forest. I’ve told many of my friends who hadn’t seen the ballet about one part of that dance in particular, where Guinevere kneels before Arthur, and he stands her up only to kneel before her. It was breathtaking. The same goes for their marriage. The dance was romantic and still youthful, for at this point the couple was still in their teenage years, and was beautifully accompanied by gorgeous, flowing costumes. When Patric Palkens stumbled in as Lancelot, I knew it would end horribly, but I couldn’t help but be on his side. I could tell exactly how much he wanted to become one of the Knights of the Round Table, and I was relieved when Arthur showed him mercy.
Of course, with characters you can’t help but love, there must be characters you can’t help but despise. Yes, I’m talking about Mordred. Danced by Rodrigo Almarales, Arthur’s evil step-brother stole the stage in his opening dance with darkness and mystery. I especially appreciated his costume. Beautifully designed – sinister with a tinge of elegance. After infiltrating the castle and becoming one of King Arthur’s knights, Mordred made his move, casting a spell on Guinevere and Lancelot that would, of course, ruin King Arthur and therefore the whole kingdom, which would be “saved” by Mordred. That sly dog. Anyway, the love scandal of The Queen and The Knight was heart wrenching. I knew I shouldn’t have been rooting for them, but their love was so unmistakable and strong, that I couldn’t help it.
The ending scene will really stick with me, I think. The anticipation was almost too much for my sympathetic little heart. Even after Mordred had exploited the affair of his brother’s wife and his friend, thus completing his job and removing the spell, Lancelot still rode in on his flawlessly manned steed to save his love from the unbelievably pictured fire for which Guinevere would be burned on account of adultery. The two made it out of the fight between brothers alive, but I can’t say the same for those brothers. After supposedly killing King Arthur and his knights, Mordred believes he had won the battle, only to be brought back down by Arthur, who’s will to protect his kingdom and avenge his friends, I assume, kept him alive. In the end, good conquers evil and Arthur defeated the evil Mordred.
All in all, a fantastic job. The choreography was outstanding, the music was perfect for the dances, and the costumes were like none I’ve ever seen. In one word, PHENOMENAL.