What Is The Significance Of The Swan Lake Essay

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Jenni Hanson
12 September 2017
The audience watches in awe as the swan battles with herself, fighting death, with such elegance and poise as she flaps her wings and bourées, quick and tiny steps en pointe, across stage so quick and light that it feels as though she is gliding. The ballerina’s birdlike movements paired with Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece in Swan Lake is easily one of the most famous ballets created but was it always that way? In fact, when first performed Swan Lake was unsuccessful and called “uninspiring and unoriginal” ( This came as a shock to me; how could such a highly regarded classical masterpiece today be called uninspired? The ballet has come very far in its lifetime. It was …show more content…

Since preforming as Odette/Odile, Legnani has become the standard that every dancer to come after has been judged against. Nearly every ballerina dreams of taking the stage as Odette/Odile because of the tremendous amount of talent and artistry required. That aspiration contributes to the prestige of the piece causing Swan Lake to become the famous masterpiece we know today. The premier of the newly renovated Swan Lake on January 15, 1895 is “considered a historical date in ballet” (Korobkov) and the score “marks a turning point not just in [Tchaikovsky’s] own creative development but the evolution of ballet music as a musical genre” (Francis). This is the first time a Russian ballet illustrated the shift between different cultural eras and artistic styles. Prior to Swan Lake, ballet was thought of as irrelevant in a revolutionary society that is Russia. After the revolution in 1917, Russian “government wanted to ‘sweep the slate clean of everything that went back to the aristocracy’…ballet got a pass in the end because Vladimir Lenin understood the potential it had to transmit information to the largely illiterate Russian masses” (Schonbek).
Art had to present a positive view of communism and its future causing the ballet to be slowly tweaked to align with socialist-realist principles. The original ending for Swan Lake concluded with the two lovers ending their lives but this was not an

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