By Robin Rinaldi
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Additional resources for Ballet, 2nd Edition (World of Dance)
It is all set to the symphonic accompaniment of the great composer Tchaikovsky. Swan Lake’s female lead switches from a swan queen named Odette in Act II to an evil impersonator named Odile in Act III. The same ballerina dances both roles. The ballet ends with a short fourth act. Based on a German folktale, the ballet has a first act set in the court of Prince Siegfried. It is his birthday, and his mother, the Queen, presents him with the gift of a crossbow while reminding him that his time has come to choose a bride.
They generally begin with group dances in a character or folkloric vein, with much pantomime used to put the story in motion, and then proceed to a pivotal dream or ballet blanc sequence featuring the lead ballerina and her corps. The last act of the ballet usually culminates with a variety of dances not particularly tied to the plotline; the setting of these divertissements is often the wedding celebration of the hero and heroine, but in reality they are just artistic excuses to showcase the dancers’ finesse with differing styles.
Ribbons are used as a symbol of love throughout the ballet. One of its highlights is a dance in which Lise and Colas intertwine in a ribbon, spooling toward and away from each other and weaving the material into patterns between them. In another dance, Lise’s girlfriends encircle and hold her en pointe via eight ribbons she holds above her head while they form a “wheel” around her, rotating her by moving in a circle as each holds the end of one ribbon. The ballet also includes folkloric touches in the form of a clog dance, a maypole dance, and a morris dance (an English folk dance for men).
Ballet, 2nd Edition (World of Dance) by Robin Rinaldi