Swan lake

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Swan lake

  1. 1. SWAN LAKE Matthew Bourne 1995
  2. 2. Historical Overview of Swan Lake “Swan Lake has been re-staged, re-thought, re-choreographed, punched, pulled, twisted and generally mangled over the last one hundred years” (Brinson and Crisp, 1970, p.66) 1875- Score for Swan Lake commissioned and composed by Tchaikovsky 1877- 1st Performance of Swan Lake by Wenzel (Julius) Reisinger, Moscow- initially it was not well received 1894- Swan Lake revived by Lev Ivanov and Marius Petipa in Russia (This is the standard version known today) 1995- Matthew Bourne’s version was created- UK
  3. 3. Where does the Story originate?  The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse.  A collective of artists including Tchaikovsky developed the original plot  Previous works by Tchaikovsky influenced the Swan Lake narrative including the ‘The Snow Maiden’ 1873 which had the same characters. ‘Lake of Swans’ and ‘Undina’ a 3 act opera created in 1869. All the works explore the love between a mortal man and an immortal women.  The first performance of Swan Lake was by the Bolshoi Ballet in Russia  The Swans originally represented purity and innocence  Many Myths feature human beings disguised as swans or maidens turned into swans  Over the last 100 years the focus has shifted from the Swans to the Prince and every version ends in tragedy-love reunited only upon death  Swan Lake has been re-staged by every major Ballet company in the world today
  4. 4. Central Themes to discuss  Love The different depictions of love, relationships between characters, representation of desire, fantasy, escapism and longing  Death and immortality Death & Immortality are central themes in romantic and classic ballets. How are they conveyed in Bourne’s narrative?  Good vs. Bad Conflict and dichotomy of good vs. bad- between characters and the inner battle with oneself. The traditional depiction compared to Bourne’s updated version. Link to costume and colour-light/dark binaries. What is the tragedy of the story?
  5. 5. 5 examples  Using the constituent features give 5 examples of how each theme is communicated Love Good vs Bad Death and Immortality
  6. 6. Bourne’s treatment of the narrative  Bourne re-worked narrative using the original score as he wanted to use the entire score for continuity and challenge himself. He did not want his Swan Lake to feel disjointed.  Removed the names/titles to give the production a more universal feel-The Swan,The Queen and The Prince etc  Developed the role and influence of the Queen  Removed the evil sorcerer Rothbart and replaced him with the private secretary-Bourne wanted to remove the magic  Centered the narrative around the Prince and his search for love  And most profoundly switched the gender of the swans from female to male  Using males enabled Bourne to reinterpret the music entirely as previous scenes are so iconic that the music is lost to the dance ie Act II Pas De Deux
  7. 7. Treatment of the Swans  Bourne found the concept of dancer as swan exciting-inspired by the abstract possibilities  Bourne studied films, images and real Swans to see how they moved and understand their characteristics  Most influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘The Birds’ and how he created suspense  Chose males instead of females to portray the swans natural power, aggression and violence  Easier to create new choreography with the sex change-male musculature lends itself well to enormous wingspan.
  8. 8. Treatment of the Royal Family  Bourne studied Royal Families over the last 150 years  Exploration of Royal Protocol  References to Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s relationship-the Royal family disapproved of her  Corgi’s are the Queen’s favourite dogs  Relationship between Royalty and celebrity in today’s culture.  The Prince’s rebellious behaviour echoes common teenager defiance  Swans themselves appear very regal at times  The use of body language and movement to depict complex relationships between monarch and heir
  9. 9. Contemporary context  In what ways has Bourne developed the work for a current contemporary audience? Watch clips of the original work on youtube to discuss
  10. 10. Style and Treatment  Universal feel sets the work anywhere between 1950’s and present day-think of examples  Use of multiple dance styles to tell story including classical Ballet  Adheres to classical structure of 4 actskeeping iconic scenes to the same sections of score-The Palace, The lake etc  Similarly to the classical version the dance shifts between reality and fantasy  Use of pastiche-celebrates rather than mocks the work/artists it imitates- find examples throughout….. think Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) as the girlfriend.
  11. 11. Style and treatment continued-Films & Pastiche  Reference to films-The Queens wig is the same as the bride in the horror film ‘Bride of Frankinstein’  The relationship between the Prince and Mother draws comparisons to MacMillians Ballet Mayerling and Shakespeare's Hamlet  Filmic style lighting references Hitchcock workcreation of tension and suspense  Swans movement echoes formations seen in ‘The Birds’ by Hitchcock  In creating the seedy club atmosphere Bourne drew upon images of notorious characters like the Kray Twins, Mandy Rice-Davies, Christine Keeler, Blues Brothers, and Barbara Windsor.  Reference to real places like st James Park opposite Buckingham Palace
  12. 12. Bourne’s creative process  Bourne began by listening to the score and devising a new narrative to follow it  The characters were cast before movement material was developed-Adam Cooper from the Royal Ballet was cast as The Swan  The costumes were designed at the same time as casting  Positions and poses from the 1st photo shoot formed the basic swan motifs  Material was created collaboratively through improvisation and investigation of character traits
  13. 13. Score-Pyotr llych Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)  Powerful Russian classical composer  Composed many Waltzes-Melodic  Composed The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty  He made Ballet music respectable Give examples of the aural setting in Swan Lake-The mood, power, atmosphere and relationship to the characters.
  14. 14. Costume- Lez Brotherston  Describe the costumes for the swans  Why do you think Brotherston made this choice for costume?
  15. 15. Costumes  How do costumes contribute to the dance work? Give examples
  16. 16. Essay questions  How do choreographers use difference dance styles to communicate ideas (20 marks)  How is structure significant in dance works (20 marks)  Compare how choreographers use the physical setting in dance (20 marks)  Compare choreographers use of aural setting to communicate meaning in dance (20 marks)

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