Swan Lake's hidden depths

By Zhang Kun | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-11 07:23
The ballet troupe's performance of In the Night. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Nureyev, one of the former Soviet Union's best-known dancers, created a new version of Swan Lake in 1984, when he was the director of the company. Also considered one of the greatest male ballet dancers of the 20th century, Nureyev brought a new depth to the ballet, especially by adding a psychological angle to the role of the prince, says Jean-Guillaume Bart, a ballet master with the POB.Nureyev gave the story a Freudian dimension, illuminating Tchaikovsky's poetic dream with a profound sense of hopelessness, he adds.

In Nureyev's Swan Lake, the dark wizard is an ambiguous figure. At first, he serves as a sort of tutor or guide to the prince, before gradually turning into a negative influence that mirrors the dark side of the prince. The contrast between the white swan and black swan also reflects the two sides of the prince's soul, Bart explains.

Also, Nureyev introduced difficult new movements and gestures into his choreography. "We hope audiences can appreciate the depth of Swan Lake, rather than just seeing it as a traditional and established ballet production."

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