Swan Lake

Programming / Dance.

Pardon ! – moi je ris ? oui.

I told myself that I would write this article after seeing Prejlocaj’s version in the theatre. It must have been in February.
So, since I didn’t see it, this version, I still haven’t seen – at my age! – Swan Lake.
It is so well known
So well well – well …. I lose my words – in French !
So splendid – danced – transformed – cult – cultish
that it is almost a shame to talk about it.

In any theatre in the world, you program Swan Lake, and you have a packed theatre.
For Altair it will be the same thing / the concern I have about this – you will tell me that I am a bit gerontophobic? – me ???? not at all – it’s the average age. I’ll bet you a French wine that we’ll be over retirement age – and I’m not going to fix that story by the way.
In and of itself, that’s great – but I want to bring young people to see this as well – the Lake needs to live and continue to live and be passed down, generation to generation.

I might offer a nasty carpetbagger’s trick – and sell two seats for the price of one and a half – if the 2nd one is given to someone under 20. – I’ll keep this one in reserve for myself, the old sales tricks, you mustn’t neglect them, they’re very effective.

So my job is this: how to attract young people to Swan Lake?

First I have to find out what the people who won’t come will say: it’s for girls who like unicorns – it’s for old people – you get bored as a rat at these things – it’s romantic, it’s too pitiful – it’s not my style of dancing at all – (and I’ll spare you all the anachronistic nonsense of those who see oppression by the millimeter) – there’s a story but we don’t understand anything about it – it’s just completely stupid as a story – it’s not worth a good outing to the bowling alley – to the dance hall – with the buddies – and on top of that, it’s very expensive.

Those are the major objections, right?
And what do I do with them?
– if you have any ideas, I’d love to steal them from you – thank you!!! –

I’m looking, I’m looking, I’m looking for this for example:

So… are you waiting for the graceful little dancers? And no.

Here is … the music
Directed by this guy, it’s also an eye candy – it’s not dancing, but Swan Lake is also an incredible score.

I do not give the title – especially not –
I propose a game… look at the video that would make you believe that you are able to play this too easily – it’s not difficult, the time per key is indicated…. so come on, let’s play, which one of you will do it the best?
I propose to find “modern” arrangements (yes I know – I apologized in the first line)
Anyway, I make my audience play with… the music.

What do we win?
You don’t follow, do you? – admit that you don’t follow everything – I see you, what do you think?
You don’t win anything – you win points, skills, cuts, swag, in the AA App. That’s it – like in every game in the world, you play to play.

At every step, the essential interest of this application is now obvious to me – to think that I, the gamer, had neglected it a so long time – I’m sorry for me –

And then I tell the story – there are two ways to tell it.

Either we go into eternal tears and all the misfortune that befalls the world and everything – and there I don’t enter the room either – this is the “real” and pure story, a little dark unicorn if you allow me so much insolence.

Or we go to the danced version – which becomes much more interesting – that of Odette-Odile danced by the same dancer.

It is from the moment when the same role is broken down into two opposing characters that the story takes on its full power – Odette, ill-enchanted, swan by day, woman by night; Odile, daughter of the enchanter, false twin of the beautiful one, Odile who will take the heart of the lover – or not?

The immense and totally schizophrenic role of Odette-Odile is given to a single dancer – this performance, presented like this, makes all the terrors of “a show for girls who love unicorns” fly away.
But it has to be presented like that.

Maia Plissetskaia

As this is dance – even if the choreography developed by Petitpa and Ivanov has become almost so cult-like that it is difficult to turn away from it – interpretation is never far away. One can make Swan Lake one’s own.
And when you start talking about: enchantment – opposite and identical personalities – magic – witchcraft and so on, you start speaking the language of a part of my fetish audience.
The love story will not take them at first.
Enchantment is a better way to get them interested – and I’m sure they’re not aware that this is an evil enchanter story.

And then … okay …. I am of a bad faith with no name (this is a very French expression, I know, but I find it so pretty – nameless? bad faith? bad faith can have a name? but what does it mean? )

I know very well that before offering fantasies from the classics, you have to offer the classics without fantasies – they have become classics by dint of being loved and admired.
What I want to work on is: how to convince to come?
For my ‘young people’, the classical ways are not good.
But the classical show is – especially if it is presented as interpretable afterwards (so that it is not a kind of sacred fetish that you have to adore because you have to adore it – you can’t do worse against a work, you literally kill it with this positioning).

A little bit of ballerinas?
You don’t blame me?

I can tell the story of the 32 fouettés ? if you want ? or look at it and wonder where they come from, these 32 fouettés by the wonderful “danseuse étoile”…

Since Paris is confined (and not me !!! long live the South of France ), here is the whole ballet, by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre :

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Featured Image : Swan Lake – Opera de Paris 2018/19 – picture by Julien Benhamou

15 Thoughts

  1. I enjoy the classical version of the ballet. However I do fine the Ballet Prejlocaj – Le lac des cygnes an intriguing updated version. I mix of ballet and modern dance. I would love to see the updated version in it entirety. For young people to take interest it would have to be all in the marketing of it. Loved this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 I totally agree with you – I think one day I’ll get to see this version of Prejlocaj – I find it really interesting because he makes a very strong connection between the different expressions of dance, as if you don’t have to choose – and that’s where I think he is really brilliant as a choreographer. Merci beaucoup 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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