The mystique of Swan Lake

Jan 11, 2011

Even if you haven't witnessed the storybook ballet of Swan Lake live in the theatre, you've probably seen some reincarnation of this classic love story elsewhere. My favorite movie as a seven-year-old was The Swan Princess, an animated children's version of the story, complete with a talking French frog named Jean-Bob and a happy ending. And I'll bet you've experienced the hype about Black Swan, the twisted thriller with star Natalie Portman dancing the role of Odette. Why is this story such an enduring tale? What is it that enchants generation after generation?

1.) Love. Love is often the ultimate theme for dance, movies, and lyrics alike. This is the love story of Princess Odette, who is turned into a swan by the evil sorcerer von Rothbart, and must fight for her love of Prince Siegfried.

2.) Heartbreak. You can't have an enthralling love story without a little heartbreak. In Swan Lake, there's plenty of that. Von Rothbart's trickery eludes the lovers and brings tragedy into the equation.

3.) Bad guys. Every good plot needs a bad guy. Von Rothbart is the ultimate bad guy, tearing apart these two lovers and driving them to pain.

4.) Russian choreography. No one does it better than the Russians. They're trained in classic choreography, with precision, grace, discipline, and effortless athleticism, making them irresistible to watch.

5.) Beautiful sets and music. Master Tchaikovsky's gorgeous music to accompany such a tumultuous tale, and the set comes to life and brings the story off the stage and into our hearts.

See the enchantment for yourself on Feb 3, performed by Voronezh State Ballet Theatre of Russia.

~Melissa Wray, Marketing Intern & U of M Student


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