On Saturday evening I went to see Swan Lake with my mom. Yes, I actually went to see a ballet performance. It wasn’t my first time, as I went to see Jewels by George Balanchine in New York in 2005. My mom decided to take me as she had always wanted to see Swan Lake, but since the National Ballet doesn’t do many tours it never came anywhere close to where we live. However, this year it’s the National Ballet’s 50th anniversary and so they have decided to take some of the most famous ballets on tour across The Netherlands. Swan Lake is the first in a series.
Het Nationale Ballet Swan Lake Promotional Poster
Swan Lake, which is the ballet featured in Black Swan that movie with Natalie Portman, is a ballet first performed in the late 19th century. The music was composed by Tchaikovsky and the ballet was made in a series that was chartered by the Russian Tsar for entertainment at his court. The performance we watched was the 1988 edition which was choreographed by one of Holland’s most famous choreographers Rudi van Dantzig who passed away earlier this year.
My mother mainly loved the music. I loved the dancing most. Being a dancer myself (though far from professional), I was afraid it would take me a while before I could see through all of the technique and just enjoy the performance. The last time I went in 2005, it took me about half the performance before I actually enjoyed it. This time though it didn’t take long for me to be captivated by the performance. Whether it was due to the stunning music, decor or the fact that we had front row seats, I don’t exactly know, but it was amazing.
I think that one thing that is appealing to this ballet performance and that makes it accessible is the fact that it has many different pieces and dances that make up the entire performance. It isn’t just classical ballet in the strict sense, but it also features quite a few folkloric dances that make for plenty of versatility and general good fun. It has a great sense of atmosphere, helped along nicely by the music, that has you laughing one moment, while the next you are on the verge of tears.
I terribly enjoyed myself and when we heard that next year the Dutch National Ballet will be touring with Romeo and Juliet we knew we have to go and try to get tickets again. The Swan Lake tour is on until later this month. Watch the trailer for Swan Lake here:
Have you ever been to a ballet performance? Would you like to?