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What would a reconstruction be like?

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#1 trieste



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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:02 PM

Recently, I went to show my non-balletomane friend Swan Lake for the first time. I wanted a version that was loyal to Petipa, included mime so the story made sense...basically, I wanted an ideal Swan Lake to show her, but I found that most versions of SL are not for the uninitiated. True, the ballet is almost cliche...but not to those who know nothing about it! (For those wondering, I showed her the Nureyev/POB version with Letestu, since I know she likes the French style and finds Russian dancers extreme and jarring. She loved it. :) )

I started fantasizing about what a loyal academic reconstruction woukd be like. What variations would we get or lose? Would the story and characters resonate more, making SL less an abstract backdrop for the choreography? I feel like it would hardly resemble some current Lakes in terms of mood and overall aesthetic (Purple Rothbart, I'm looking at you...) Also, would it even meet modern expectations of what Swan Lake should be, or would it be a museum piece for dance historians, a novelty? I, personally, wish Vikharev would be given the reins here, so that we would get Russians dancing Swan Lake like only they can, but with the mime and drama that they've stripped from their productions...

Forgive me if this has been addressed specifically or extensively.

#2 Birdsall


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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:04 AM

I wouldn't mind seeing a reconstruction of Swan Lake either. That is the fun of ballet (to compare and contrast not just dancers but the choreography in different versions). However, like you mention (or imply) it is always a compromise. In reconstructions we sometimes lose a variation or sequence that was later added but so beloved. The reconstruction of Bayadere is fascinating but how you miss the Golden Idol, for example!!!!

Have you seen the Royal Ballet's Swan Lake dvd with Nunez? I believe it contains more mime than any other version I have seen, if I remember correctly. However, it is not a reconstruction. The sets are a bit unusual and weird. But Nunez is a very sexy Odile.

I have a feeling these reconstructions cost a lot of time and money and are a labor of love and then they aren't always successful with audiences. I think the recent Raymonda reconstruction is fabulous. I think the Bayadere reconstruction is a bit long winded. The final "lost" act somehow doesn't work dramatically (maybe I am just too used to the Makarova version). However, it is quite fascinating to see how much music was taken from the last act and stuck into the engagement party scene! I like the Sleeping Beauty one in some ways and in some ways I prefer the more traditional versions. But without a doubt it is always fascinating to see a reconstruction.....to see what it might have originally looked like....I am surprised there is no Swan Lake reconstruction.

I think the Mariinsky version and the Royal Ballet versions include black swans dancing with the white swans in the last act. This is before the movie Black Swan came out, so they didn't do this to capitalize on the movie. But in many productions the only black swan is Odile and all the others are always white. I wonder if the black swans in the last act were originally part of Swan Lake. Does anyone know?

#3 cubanmiamiboy


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Posted 20 August 2012 - 05:02 PM

K. Sergueiev's choreo is engraved too deep already. There's no way out I think...(but then so it was his Beauty, and still the reconstruction went on)

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