I believe Odette is a Princess; she mimes, "I am a Princess" to Siegfried when she introduces herself.
My French friend's comment was more about what he thought about Kirov style than anything to do with the ballet. (The view, obviously not shared by everyone that the comparatively straight French back is "superior" because it is free of the "peasant" folk dance elements that became part of Kirov style. Now, before you throw bricks, remember all the nasty things Maryinsky dancers used to say about the Bolshoi....)
Your comments about the difference between Odette and Odile are very interesting, I think. It could be to denote a difference in character -- nowadays, the ballerina tries to be as different as possible in the two roles, which rather destroys the point that it's two different women, with the second one imitating the first -- obviously much much more difficult to do.
It also, however, could be a difference in choreographers, if it is true that Ivanov choreographed the second act rather than Petipa. (Something that several scholars are at least a bit skeptical about.)
As always, good eyes, CD
Aurora and Emploi
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