Segments in this Video

Ballet Duality (03:55)


Tamara Rojo says that dancing in "Swan Lake" is every ballerina's dream; the lead role is unique in classical ballet. Rojo describes how the choreography reflects the dual roles that demands physical endurance. She will take viewers backstage for an inside look at preparations.

Music and Attributes (04:34)

Creating a blank canvas on her face and seeing what emerges is Rojo's favorite moment. The music in "Swan Lake" allows freedom for the dancers. In the 19th Century, fairy tales resonated with adults although show and etiquette were paramount in formal society. A boat trip on the Rhine inspired Tchaikovsky; "Swan Lake" begins in a medieval German castle.

"Swan Lake": Prince Siegfried (04:46)

The prince feels suffocated by courtly life. The dancer practices movements that express sadness. Tchaikovsky struggled in his personal life, while his artistic life flourished; "Swan Lake" provided new musical/dance opportunities. Rojo reflects on nerves.

White Swan (03:58)

"Swan Lake" premiered at the Bolshoi Theater in 1877 to mixed reviews and was nearly lost. Rojo reflects on wearing a headdress; she first appears on stage as Odette. Marina Warner discusses the basic language of myths and fairy tales.

Odette and the Flock (06:15)

Dancing the character of Odette presents particular challenges; Loipa Araujo helps Rojo. The myth of the swan maiden is one of the oldest legends; "The White Duck" and "The Stolen Veil" are the likely sources for the story of "Swan Lake." The corps de ballet created new opportunities for synchronous movement.

"Swan Lake": Soulmates (04:59)

Prince Siegfried searches for Odette; Rojo empathizes with Odette. During a pas de deux, Odette offers Siegfried her trust. Rojo coaches Laurretta Summerscales on depicting young love in the ballet.

Evolution of Interpretation (04:28)

Every generation offers a new interpretation of "Swan Lake." Rojo and Alina Cojocaru watch Galina Ulanova and Natalia Makarova perform. Rothbart maintains control of Odette and drives the prince away.

Ballet as Etiquette (04:05)

The 1895 revival of "Swan Lake" fixed the ballet's legacy; Ivanov's collaboration with Marius Petipa made the production radical. The roots of classical ballet developed at the court of King Louis XIV. Siegfried is ambivalent about the attention from potential brides; Rothbart sends Odile to seduce the prince.

"Swan Lake": Black Swan (06:13)

The doppelganger was an obsession throughout the 19th century. Odile crashes the ball and seduces the prince during the pas de deux, making him believe she was his love all along; Rojo explains Odile's manipulative role.

"Swan Lake": Dazzling the Audience (04:02)

Rojo likes Odile's strength and enjoys dancing the part. Odile trumps the prince's bravura with a series of fouettés; Pierina Legnani was the first ballerina to perform 32 fouettés. Tchaikovsky's music works hand-in-hand with the plot. Rothbart confronts the prince with a vision of Odette, tortured by his betrayal.

Russian Collectivism and a New Interpretation (03:53)

The revolution opened theater to the masses: "Swan Lake" was Stalin's favorite ballet. The Bolshoi ballet visited Britain in 1956. A 1995 production cast male dancers as the swans and told the story from a psychological perspective. The music allows many interpretations; it helps Rojo find the character.

"Swan Lake": Odette's Despair (04:20)

The prince's betrayal crushes the white swan and she sees no future; Rojo struggles with Odette's desire to give up. Odette and the prince reunite in a final pas de deux that echoes their first meeting; Rojo coaches dancers.

"Swan Lake": Climactic End (03:28)

Unsettling music toward the end of "Swan Lake" mimics the beginning. Odette and the prince fight to break Rothbart's spell. Rojo reflects on the idea of doppelgangers and why "Swan Lake" has endured for over 100 years.

Credits: Tamara Rojo's Swan Lake (00:30)

Credits: Tamara Rojo's Swan Lake

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Tamara Rojo's Swan Lake

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Tamara Rojo, world-famous ballerina and artistic director of English National Ballet, takes us backstage as she prepares for one of classical ballet's biggest challenges—the dual lead in Swan Lake. It is the ultimate role for any dancer, requiring her to play the completely contrasting characters—Odette the White Swan and Odile the Black Swan.

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL128970

ISBN: 978-1-64023-818-3

Copyright date: ©2014

Closed Captioned

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