What a difference five minutes can make.
Just before the curtain fell on Cincinnati Ballet’s production of “Swan Lake” at the Aronoff Center Sunday afternoon, principal dancer Sarah Hairston’s leading character leapt to her death to escape an evil sorcerer. Moments later, during curtain calls, Hairston was taken aback when Brendan Tuohy, her boyfriend of six years, stepped onto the stage to present her with a dozen red roses.
Surprise turned to shock when Tuohy dropped to one knee and – you guessed it – proposed.
Hairston wasn’t the only one surprised. The shock was obvious in the reactions of all of the other dancers, including those from BalletMet Columbus, which collaborated on the production.
The capacity audience, already on its feet after the show, began screaming its approval. Hairston lowered her face into her hands for a few moments, then began jumping in place and shouting “yes, yes, yes.”
Earlier today, Hairston had confided to friends that, after experiencing enormous success in the dual role of Odette/Odile, she was worried about the emotional letdown when the company returned to rehearsal Monday. today. (She’s dancing in “The Nutcracker” in December.) Presumably, that is no longer a concern.
Tuohy, an operatic tenor, won’t have much time to revel in his new life as a betrothed man. Before year’s end, he has engagements in Versailles, Montpelier and Aix-en-Provence, France, as well as with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.