Hi! I come from finishing a run of the ballet “Swan Lake” by Derek Deane with the English National Ballet. We performed 13 shows within two weeks, so there was plenty of swanning around.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, I’ll do a quick recap…This ballet is about princess Odette, who is cursed by an evil sorcerer called Rothbart. The curse turns her into a swan until someone swears true love to her, turning her back into a human. During the first act, we meet a prince called Siegfried, who is told by his Queen mother that he must choose a suitable partner to marry. He doesn’t agree with this idea, so he goes hunting to get his head around the thought of marriage. In the the second act, we are taken to the infamous lake, where he runs into the swan version of Odette and quickly falls in love with her. (I know this is weird, but ballet is weird and so are fairytales). He swears to love her, but on his return to the castle in the third act, his mother has invited guests to a ball, in hopes that he’ll find a suitable canditate to be his wife. In comes Rothbart with Odile, the black swan, who is trying to impersonate Odette to convince the prince to marry her. They dance and he falls for her. He decides he loves Odile now and swears to marry her, but Odette has been watching all along through the castle windows and calls the attention of everyone at the ball to show Siegfried that he chose the wrong swan. In the fourth act, the prince has to go back to the lake to try and undo what he did with Odile, and win Odette back, but its too late…Odette is heartbroken, and Rothbart is not budging, so she decides its best to just end it, and unfortunately, she commits suicide. The prince quickly decides that he can’t live without her either so he too, kills himself. A tragic ending to a masterpiece of a ballet.
I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed performing this ballet, as hard and taxing as it was. As a corps de ballet girl, you perform in almost every single act of every single performance, so having the support of your colleagues is not only helpful but, in my opinion, almost crucial. Being a member of the swan corps de ballet is definitely a bonding experience for the company girls.
It was a great and fun run, and I’m very grateful because I got the opportunity to perform a number of nice roles. The most iconic one being a cygnet, the one where four girls dance linked together. To get this dance perfectly right it really is all about teamwork and communication. When it goes really well, it really does bring a great amount of satisfaction, like the four of you achieved something great.
Dancing this production was really gratifying and I hope we get to do it again sometime soon, but for now its time to move on to the next ballet: Manon.
Until next time,
P.s. Enjoy these little clips of the company performing!!!