Features of Swan Lake

Mathew Bourne’s swan lake is fantastically one of the most performed ballets in London west end and globally. The reputation of the Ballet grew in popularity and since then has been carried out in a wide variety of fields and nations ranging from Los Angeles, Europe, japan and even Israel. The story is based on a Russian romantic piece, the music is taken from the works of Tchaikovsky with the employment of a extensive framework of plot. This is one of the early Romantism and represents a wide array of themes consisting of politics. It is a story that is based on a German myth used broadly in Romantism. The story was adapted by Hans Christian for the story the little mermaid (Tchaikovsky and Peter Ilyich). Just like any other works of Romantism this piece of art emphasize feelings of the poet (the composer). It is sentimentally melancholic on top of the fact that it is intuitional. However, unlike in the past, the contemporary Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is a game changer due to the fact that it outlines the plot in a completely different way and has been changed to fit the current times where those parts that were danced exclusively by women danced by men.

Mathew Bourne’s swan lake though it has a wide variety of themes at its core does not contain the subject but rather but in a way feelings. The art emphasize not only freedom from the rules of nature but also some like solitary life that is apart from the people and society (Vincent and Jordan). Swan Lake is based on a German story that describes the beauty of a mermaid whose happiness was threatened by a mortal that she fell in love with; the love was so intense that they got a child together; this made her lose her immortality. Due to the fact that she was beautiful, the knight that she has fallen in love with decided that he would marry her and take her for a bride; but after bearing a child, her beauty faded very fast and Lawrence, the military knight did not have interest in her anymore. This piece of art employs imagery and innovation in an attempt to bring about the main theme of the story. The style of imagery is portrayed when the story explains that one afternoon when Ondine was walking around her house when she suddenly heard a snoring that she was familiar with and it was the snore of her husband. She ended up finding her husband Lawrence in the arms of another woman; Ondine was devastated to the core, kicking her awake, she cursed her that if he ever slept again she would never wake up again due to the fact that the breath would be taken away.

Choreography of Swan Lake

Due to the ineffective choreography of the same, swan was not such a success in the past and was criticized by many that it was a failure; this happened due to the fact that the Tchaikovsky’s music in the same and was put down by staging ballet (Hawkes and Melanie Camille). After realizing that, some few concerned individuals such as Anna Sobeshchanskaya who were unhappy with the choreography of Julius Reisinger went to Marious Petipa in an attempt to find the best for Swan Lake. Petipa, harnesses the help of Lev Ivanov took over and made Swan Lake a success once again. Original choreography of the ballet was done by Julius Reisinger. The ballet was received and premiered in ancient times such as in 1877 at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow Russia. Swan Lake has been presented in a myriad of versions with most of the ballet firms basing their choreography and music on the revival of Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov which was staged for the first time on January 15th 1895 at the Mariinsky Theater St. Petersburg. The original work of Tchaikovsky due to the fact that it was unsuccessful was revised by the St Petersburg theatres where the chief conductor and composer Riccardo Drigo proposed the changes. According to the original works of Tchaikovsky, Anna Sobeshchanskaya’s acted as Odette and due to poor performance Sobeshchanskaya, was completely dissatisfied about the same and opted to travel to St Petersburg so that Marius Petipa, the new choreographer pas de deux, could replace pas de sic that functions as the third acts as the grand pas. At that time, ballerina was custom practice ballet; this made it become one of the legal properties of ballets of the 19th century that were composed for. Petipa had a vast knowledge and expertise in the area; this is due to the fact that he made some changes to the ballet and choreographed the Sobestika’s as deux to music that was made by Ludwig Minkus. The piece of art was so great and became a standard pas de deux classique and consisted of many parts such as a short entrée, a grand adage for the one dancing, a variation of the ballerina and the coda. Tchaikovsky was devastated to the core due to the fact that his original works were changed, he then reintroduced another music into the ballet making it even worse than before due to the fact that Sobeshchanskaya did not want to perform after introduction of the new music. After a long time, repetition was found in the archives of Moscow among some of the pieces that were used by people like alexander Gorsky’s, due to the incredible nature of the same, George Balanchine used the work to choreograph his music for a ballerina violette verdy that was acted in the year 1960 under the title pas de deux performed in new York. It is still known and performed in the current times among some of the best art.

History of Swan Lake focusing on subsequent productions.

After Julius Reisinger left Moscow in the year 1879, he was succeeded by joseph peter Hansen. There have been considerable efforts that he been put into in a bid to ensure that the ballet pushed through and make considerable success (Vincent and Jordan). Joseph peter had determination and made significant efforts throughout the years of early 1870s and 1880s to salvage Swan Lake and In January of 1880, his efforts paid off where he presented a new production of the same for his own performance. He directed the performance and made a considerable stride when some parts such as Odette danced by other different people such as Evdokia Kalmykova was by then was a student at the Moscow imperial ballet school. Alfred Bekefi also danced some of the parts such as Prince Siegfried. Due to the vast experience of the vast knowledge and expertise in the area, the production was well received unlike the others in the past. Hansen was more successful and presented another version of the ballet where the same actors played their parts, has arranged a grand pas for the ballroom titled La Cosmopolitana.

In the year 1895, some of the directors such as Petipa and Ivanov Drigo presented an improved version of Tchaikovsky. After the death of Tchaikovsky the year 1894, a number of concerts were held in his honor. The production that was designed in the honor of the deceased included the second act of Swan Lake that was choreographed by Lev Ivanov, who was the second ballet master of the imperial ballet. The concert of Ivanov that was held in memory of Tchaikovsky was attended by members from all over the word.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake is one of the contemporary forms of the ballet due to the fact that it has been made in order to fit the needs of the current lovers of the ballet (Vincent and Jordan). The ballet has been designed to fit the needs of the viewers in the current times due to the fact that they are different from traditional ones where female corps have been replaced with male dancers. The ballet has been viewed by many in the current times; this is because it is liked and has not been out of stage for a long time. The production of Bourne has toured many places such as London several times, it has been performed as well in many countries such as turkey, Italy, Russia, Germany, japan and the United Kingdom. To date Swan Lake by Bourne has won a significant number of awards that total to more than 30 (Vincent and Jordan Beth).

In the year 2000, the American ballet theatre versions became yet another one that is made in the current times; this is due to the fact that instead of having the curtains down a slow introduction accompanies, it used the music to help Von Rothbart change Odette into swan. This prologue is the same as that one of Vladimir Burmeister’s version of production of Swan Lake but has parts that makes it different from the one that was acted in Moscow. In this play, von Rothbart depicts two young men where one appears to be handsome and is easily able to lure Odette and the other dancer is covered in monster-like makeup that depicts a true self of the magician. However, it would be important to note that about half an hour of the original score is removed in this production. Another version of swan lake that was perform recently was the Graeme murphy, it was based on the story of breakdown of marriage between lady Diana and prince Charles in relation to his relationship with Carmilla parker. This version of ballet has combined the roles of von Rothbart and Odies and turns them into baroness, this depicts that story focuses on a love triangle. One of the recently performed version of Swan Lake is the back swan which is a film that stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, both of them featured in the swan lake ballet (Vincent and Jordan Beth).

Social and political views.

There has been different interpretation of the contemporary ballets; this is due to the fact that different people view the decision of Bourne to cast men as swans (Hawkes and Melanie Camille). It would be important to note that the original ballet that originated from Europe had the ideas of Romanizing love between male and female. Heroine in the ballet is Odette and he is portrayed as powerless, however, she is lovely due to the fact that she lives in accordance with the gender roles. The hero of Odette is a hunter that has the power of saving her. Due to the fact that men are in the role of lead swan, there are suggestions that the struggle of the prince has brought to light gay love at its core, it changes the plot from magical and brings about a psychological one (Carroll and Noël 214-221). The fierce bird that is part and parcel of choreography reinterprets and depicts the core idea of swan as pretty, feminine and gentle. According to Bourne, having male swan makes complete sense, he suggest that the male dancers are more masculine and have enormous wingspans than the ballerina. It would be critical to note that the same idea is carried though and does not depend on whether the dancers are male or female. The main idea represents the fact that the love of both of them is doomed due to the fact that it is forbidden. However, the prince seeks to cross the boundaries of everyday convention through their love. All the themes are well explained in the life of Tchaikovsky, composer of the ballet, whose sexual orientation depicting homosexuality contributed to complications in his life.


Swan Lake was presented for the first time in the year 1887 when Liverto was written by one of the greatest artists of the year, Vladimir and Vasily. Tchaikovsky was invited by the composers of the same in order to write music for it, this enabled him have a profound influence on the development of the story in the ballet. The little ballet that was composed by Tchaikovsky to entertain the little children are some of the major contributions in the ballet. At the time when the ballet was created, fairy tales were widely used and supernatural beings too did not miss in the same. Swan-maiden made Swan Lake one of the most liked ballets due to the fact that the maidens were widely adored among the people for their beauty and grace (Hawkes and Melanie Camille). Due to the fact that the ballet has been revised severally to meet the needs of the audiences, it is hard to trace the original ballet because there are many stories that are believed to have influenced the development of the ballet. Many of the stories are believed to have an effect on the transformation of the swan in many ways; this explains why many stories are similar to the story of Swan Lake and is evident by the fact that The Tales of the thousand and One Nights features some of the elegant women that transform to be maidens. There are many other such as sweet Mikhail Ivanovich the rover where Mikhail is about to shoot a swan when one of them flies and then changes its form into an elegant woman. The stories are also similar to the ones that are about a king that married a witch who ended up transforming the children into swans. It is believed that Tchaikovsky took his music from the Wagner’s opera together with composers from Delibes because he admired them.

Works Cited

Alterowitz, Gretchen. “Toward a feminist ballet pedagogy: Teaching strategies for ballet technique classes in the twenty-first century.” Journal of Dance Education 14.1 (2014): 8-17.

Carroll, Noël. “Comments on Strange Tools by Alva Noë.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 94.1 (2017): 214-221.

Drummond, Kent G. “The Queering of Swan Lake: A New Male Gaze for the Performance.” Queer Theory and Communication: From Disciplining Queers to Queering the Discipline (s) (2014): 235.

Hawkes, Melanie Camille. “# SwanLake: An Old Ballet Made New for the Digital age Audience.” (2014).

Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilyich. Swan lake. Vol. 8. (주) 이퓨처, 2016.

Vincent, Jordan Beth. “Australian Ballet–Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake–Melbourne.” Dance tabs (2013): 1-1.

Vincent, Jordan. “Dance review: Matthew Bourne’s swan lake exudes feral masculinity.” The age (2014).

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