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‘Role of a lifetime’: Dancer compares lead part in ‘Swan Lake’ to ‘trekking to Mount Everest’

Olga Kifyak and Evgeny Svetlitsa in a scene from Russian Ballet Theatre’s “Swan Lake.” (Courtesy of Russian Ballet Theatre)

Like many other dancers, Olga Kifyak dreamed of being a ballet dancer.

Not only has she been successful in the medium, but Kifyak is also in the role of a lifetime in “Swan Lake.”

The production is being presented by the Russian Ballet Theatre, and the tour makes a stop at Popejoy Hall on Sunday, Oct. 13.

Kifyak dances the roles of the Odile (Black Swan) and the Odette (White Swan) in the production.

She says the roles take demanding technical mastery and emotional range to morph from vulnerable and pure Odette to audacious and deceptive Odile.

“This is a very strong role, because I have to change in the intermission,” Kifyak says. “The characters are complete opposites. For a dancer, this role is like trekking to Mount Everest. There’s so much happening.”

“Swan Lake” features the story of Odette, a princess who falls under the spell of an evil sorcerer.

Only Prince Siegfried’s devotion can save her.

The ballet combines pure romanticism and tragedy in a magical tale of love and deception.

Kifyak is also a 10-time International Ballet Competition medalist.

The Russian Ballet Theatre production of “Swan Lake” is a new version for the company.

Kifyak says it has new details.

“Our choreographer adds a prologue,” she says. “She uses it for the new choreography, which explains how the evil is so evil. We also revised the original some. There are five jesters instead of one. There is a beautiful dance that we’ve added.”

Kifyak began training in ballet at 12, which is later than other dancers.

There was something about ballet that struck a chord and kept her wanting to improve.

“This is a role of a lifetime for ballet dancers,” she says. “We train from an early childhood. We prepare ourselves physically everyday for a role like this. Being able to travel and bring the production to a new audience each day is amazing. Of course, we still have to keep ourselves in the best shape possible, both physically and mentally.”

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