Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ronny

Swan lake, act 3, national dancers

Recommended Posts

There are 4 groups of "natioal dancers" who dance in the castle just before the black swan makes her entrance. I have always wondered if they represent 4 different countries or what? I was thnking Spain or Russian or something because they are all clicking their heels at one time or another. I am watching a Kirov performance...

Am I trying to disect the thing too much... sometimes I don't know how much detail can be found in the story line or how much I should just sit back and use my imagination. Would you say that these 4 groups represent 4 different countries or regions, or should I just sit back and just think, "well, they have so many dancers who want some stage time and the director just told them to go out and get some practice!"

Share this post


Link to post

There are usually four national dances presented in today's act III Swan Lake. Spanish, Hungarian, Neapolitan, and Polish. There was also a Russian Dance composed by Tchaikovsky for Odile, but this is seldom used for anybody anymore. The dances were supposed to represent where the bridal candidates for Siegfried came from, but what happened to the other two, I don't know. Maybe some countries brought twins?

The dances are all strongly marked as Petipa compositions, just by their vocabulary. The Italian dance is SO academic that many ballet masters find it boring, and make their own version of it.

Share this post


Link to post

Ronny -

In versions of the ballet I have seen, the national dances are Spanish, Neapolitan (once upon a time, Naples was a Kingdom), Hungarian and Russian. In some versions they are just a divertissement as entertainment for the court, but in some others, they also refer to the nationalities of the princesses brought to the castle as potential brides for Siegfried.

Share this post


Link to post

ronny, I think you ought to check out these books. I've found them awfully helpful and interesting. Perhaps your library has them or you can go up through the Amazon banner on this site (and if you buy through Amazon by entering this portal, a portion will go to help support Ballet Alert...)!:)

101 Stories of the Great Ballets by George Balanchine and Francis Mason and Ballet 101: A Complete Guide to Learning and Loving the Ballet by Robert Greskovic

Both of these books are excellent and will really give you a tremendous amount of detailed information. Be sure to look at both of them, for they are different in their approach to the subjects... I would recommend Greskovic's book first, although I am sure there will be others who'd swear by the Balanchine/Mason book...:) Greskovic's gives a great overview of ballet history, dancers - everything and he is quite witty!

Share this post


Link to post

Great, thanks. Now I can impress my friends with a narrative on the scene... of course I will pretend that I know which one is which!!... and I'm safe there since they won't know the difference. Naples must have been a small kingdom, so I'll pick the two dancers for that place!!

BW, thanks too... but I have so much fun asking you guys and gals that I may not do much book research... hope that's OK>

For some reason I am not the type that can curl up with a book and absorb all the information. I have learned quite a lot from you all already, thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post

It's not too hard to tell which dance is which. The Hungarian one usually comes first ( this one is usally a big group but not always). And then Spanish (in the Bolshoi, NYCB, and Royal version it's danced by 2 couples. Sometimes the women have fans) and Neopolitan ( the music is a "tarantella", and sometimes the dancers hold tamborines). The polonaise is usually in a big group. In the Bolshoi video I saw, all the previous dancers from the other national dances dance the polonaise.

It's too bad the Russian one is often left out. I *love* that music. On the video "The Ultimate Swan Lake" (Bolshoi), the Russian dance is beautiful. I didn't quite like Peter Martin's interpretation (it's a pdd).

In the National Ballet of Canada's version, all the national dances are solos. I don't like that very much either. For the Hungarian one, I think it looks better with men and women (especially at the faster 2nd half of the music).

Share this post


Link to post

That's great. I get the full picture now. I see all the clues you mentioned. Thanks again.

Share this post


Link to post
Sign in to follow this  
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×