Starting in Russia, precisely in Moscow 1877 with a musical score by Tchaikovsky at the Bolshoi Theatre and later reinvented by Marius Pepita and Lev Ivanov in January 1895. Pepita’s version of Swan Lake comes to be the most sought-after production and a recurrent creative challenge for choreographers in ascendance, dance companies and opera houses.
Choreographers over and over again look at this classic work and recharge the performance with new dance, music and characters. However, the origin of the ballet’s story is vague; it most likely descends from German folk tales. The history of Swan Lake is vast and covers choreographers from all around the world.
Olivier award winner, Mathew Bourne replaces the female corps de ballet with male dancers surprising audiences and critics. Since its world premiere in 1995 Bourne’s Swan Lake has been performed nearly everywhere. Starting with a U.K. tour in 1996 and followed by performances in the West End, Broadway and notable world tours.
Oscar winning Black Swan, choreographed by Benjamin Millepid starring Portman auditioning for the roles of white and black swans in New York made Swan Lake even more popular. In here, Portman fails to portrait the emotions of the darker side of the bird, conquering the hearts of cinema goers and dance lovers with a new shot at the classical ballet.
Swan Lake has been studied, performed and reinvented further by Balanchine with New York City Ballet in 1951.
More recently, Alexander Ekman choreographs A Swan Lake on Norwegian National Ballet transforming the stage into an actual lake.
This ballet represents more than its story line. It became a game between artists and audiences, checking on each other’s ideas for the famous production and its reinvention into pertinent political statements and above all revolutionary choreographic ideas and new music compositions.
Dada Masilo from South Africa presents a new situation in her Swan Lake, breaking the codes of classical ballet, and injecting the performance with African dance styles, ballet and contemporary dance. The world in which both men and women are swans, unlike Mathew Bourne’s male version. Masilo plays Odette and the swans are ambushed in the codes and customs of society. Odette is then forced into an arranged marriage with Siegfried, dancing to the incredible score by Tchaikovsky, in addition to contemporary composer Steve Reich and harrowing music from Arvo Pärt.