Sunday, July 10, 2011

ABT's Swan Lake by Adult Beginner

Came across this post on the blog Adult Beginner, written by a woman who started ballet later in life, which is a really difficult thing to do because ballet itself is very demanding and in order to become any good at it a girl is expected to start at a very young age, devote her entire life to it, and age out by her 30s.
Adult Beginner went to see ABT's version of Swan Lake, and even if you know the plot backwards and forwards it's a very funny read. But she also has some insights into the plot, such as Odile's character, included below, which is on everybody's mind thanks to Black Swan.
"Started thinking about Odile. Why is this considered the sexy bad girl role? The music is not giving me any evil cues like it does for Rothbart. It’s fun lively music. Perky. Maybe this is an issue of how old the music is? Like maybe it’s kinda dated? Like when you watch Jaws and you expect heavy horror movie music but other than the dahDuh shark music it’s kinda bouncy like, hey! Two dudes on a boat! It’s a fishin’ movie!
It feels more like Odile is the confident, triumphant counterpart to Odette’s downtrodden earnestness. Odile is a sassy-sassafras. Love it when she burns Siegfried, pulls her hand away before he can kiss it. Seems like the music and choreography and performance were all in agreement that she’s not the sensual dark creature a post Black Swan audience has come to expect.
And for that matter, what is Odile? Is she Rothbart’s daughter? If so, why is she beautiful while he’s a swamp monster? And does she live with him in the lake? Or does she live with her mom in Long Island City?
Did Rothbart call and say, “hello my Princess! I have a job for you, sweetie!”
Or did he create her? Is she like The Flesh from Doctor Who? Did he make this sassy, full, real person, just to fulfill this one purpose and then throw away?
Found myself really feeling for Odile."

Click through to read the whole thing!

The Mariinsky Ballet's Ulya Lopatkina (image from here) seems to be exuding the same playful vibe Adult Beginner sensed and not the "I will lead you down a dark road that ends in insanity and murder" vibe from Black Swan the movie. (I've mentioned it before, but I can hardly recommend Mercedes Lackey's book Black Swan enough as a fascinating look into Odile's character...)

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