Things You Don't Know About...

Mail on SundayMay 30, 2010

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SWAN LAKE English National Ballet celebrates its 60th anniversary year with a Royal Albert Hall production of Swan Lake featuring up to 70 swans. Ballet writer Cheryl Angear explains its magic The story of Swan Lake is based on German folklore Princess Odette has been turned into a swan by the evil Rothbart and she can only become human again if a man swears true love for her. In ballet, as in life, things don't always go according to plan, and the prince who does so is soon tricked into falling in love with Odile, Rothbart's daughter, who is disguised as Odette. In most productions, the same dancer takes both roles. The ballet was first performed in Moscow in 1877 But it wasn't well received. Its composer, Tchaikovsky, died before it could be restaged successfully in 1895 in St Petersburg, with changes to the previously unpopular choreography and music. The first British full version came in 1934, when ballerina Alicia Markova, who went on to co-found English National Ballet, danced Odette/Odile.

The standard Swan Lake has only 20 to 30 swans It is the unique spectacle of 60 to 70 swans on stage in the ENB production that so dazzles the eye. That many tutus take up a lot of room, so the dancers move to a large film studio to rehearse.

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Things You Don't Know About...

The best known part of Swan Lake comes in the 'Black Act' Swan Lake has two 'White Acts' w...

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