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Swan Lake: How Matthew Bourne Made Love Absolute

Introduction

Swan Lake is a work that has become a world classic. It has resonated in the hearts of many people and has become a benchmark for them among ballets. The ballet’s musical accompaniment is striking: the composer was the Russian classical composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. He gave each note its characteristic, so the ballet’s plot lives on. Swan Lake opens up new meanings in love, and Matthew Bourne has found them. He first choreographed the ballet in 1995, and it won a standing ovation. In 2012, the ballet was released as part of TheatreHD: The New London Orchestra was conducted by David L. Jones. Swan Lake has become a story about love and the power of feelings, about violence and the taboos of love. The beauty of the work astounds the beholder, reveals the fears, and shows that forbidden love without which it is unbearable to live.

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Dance: the Embodiment of Forbidden Love

Swan Lake contains four acts, each telling the story of the Prince’s life and revealing his madness. The Prince has come a long way. He could not dream of being free or of leaving the palace. So why was he able to do it after all? The key was the Swan, who visited him in his dreams as a child and became a reminder that there is freedom somewhere. The Prince strives for it and eventually finds it, paying with his life. The mental turmoil and anguish inherent in the Russian ballet classics are found here: the Prince’s inner conflict stands at its apex and marks deep personal grief.

The ballet begins with a dark scene: the little Prince sees the Swan. The Little Prince finds growing up hard, but his youth is not a breath of fresh air either. The scene that becomes the crowning glory of the Prince’s suffering consists of a violent pas de deux, performed by the Queen and the Prince. The Prince clings to his mother’s arms but cannot bear her company. The flapping of his arms upwards and the long steps symbolize a desire to escape. Resentment accompanies the scene, ending with the Prince in mental turmoil. A group of swans flies up before his eyes towards him, but the vision ends, and with it, the Prince’s desire to live.

The second act of Bourne’s work is the most talked about part of the ballet. It was an innovation in classical ballet and inaugurated a period of the modern vision of love. From the very beginning, there are hints of unconventional things. The Swan is portrayed as a man, and this makes the ballet tragic. Bourne’s decision to take on the male role opens up a new vision of the romanticized line of the original ballet (Schwall, 2021). The classical swan dance is incongruous but catchy. The movements become more chaotic by the minute, and the soft blue light flickers with highlights on the barefooted men. Their costumes are not really pretty; they resemble the feathers of strong birds. The emphasis of the dance is on the legs of the men, strong and sturdy as wings. The swan figures become one whole, which is why it is so hard for the group to let an outsider in.

The mystery of Swan and Prince’s love is not shrouded in magic, and it is now a profound psychological drama about limitations. The grace of the second act is truly displayed in the private dance of the Swan and the Prince. The Swan opens up to the Prince, lets him see his world, and takes him into his arms. The delighted Prince finds happiness in the embrace. The sensual and classic pas de deux is now filled with love and faith. The stereotypical behavior patterns of traditional love have disappeared, and the drama of inner conflict and struggle against the patterns has entered a new light.

Love is a miracle that requires work and labor. The Prince’s heartache stifles his senses and drives him mad. The final act of the ballet is filled with pain, expressed in a jerky, crumpled movements. The Prince sees in his madness the Swan, but he has betrayed him. Betrayal can only be atoned for by death, so the Prince and the Swan’s final embrace is filled with grief (Schwall, 2021). A group of swans violently beat the pair and kill Swan. The Prince suffocates in sobs and dies. His mother finds him, and for the first time, her grief is visible. After his death, the couple is reunited: Swan carries the little Prince in his arms.

Conclusion

The end of the ballet is marked by tragedy, heartbreak, and pain. Love dies but is resurrected again and goes beyond human comprehension. Bourne’s conflict is aligned against people’s inhibitions to love. Bourne’s choreography is characterized by the jerky movements of the people and the coherence of the swan dances. The softness of the Prince’s port de bras is striking: his plasticity is similar to the gracefulness of the dance of the Swan Princess. Bourne’s Swan Lake is the epitome of a new school and a combination of the classical with scandalous moves from jazz and modern dance. Dance, like love, has transcended standards and become an opportunity to find the right path.

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Reference

Schwall, E.B. (2021). Dancing with the revolution: Power, politics, and privilege in Cuba. University of North Carolina Press.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, November 20). Swan Lake: How Matthew Bourne Made Love Absolute. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/swan-lake-how-matthew-bourne-made-love-absolute/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, November 20). Swan Lake: How Matthew Bourne Made Love Absolute. https://studycorgi.com/swan-lake-how-matthew-bourne-made-love-absolute/

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Swan Lake: How Matthew Bourne Made Love Absolute." November 20, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/swan-lake-how-matthew-bourne-made-love-absolute/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Swan Lake: How Matthew Bourne Made Love Absolute'. 20 November.

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