From the Blow-horn
On March 27, 2022, RBT presented its production of Swan Lake at the Plaza Theatre in El Paso. It was a beautiful performance with ballerinas from different countries and you can see the hard work they put in to perfect all 4 acts.
A friend and I had bought tickets to the show because we watched the 2010 film, Black Swan (the one where Natalie Portman goes crazy), and we loved it. The movie follows a young woman who experiences severe mental health issues due to the stress of becoming the “perfect black swan” for her ballet studio’s opening production of Swan Lake. It showed us the dark side of ballet and how rigorous/competitive it is for the dancers. This made us want to see the actual Swan Lake performance because we were under the assumption it had the same story progression as Black Swan. We were wrong….
Swan Lake is a 4 act love story between a prince and the Swan Queen. In Act 1, it is the prince’s 21st birthday and there is a celebration taking place in the palace courtyards. His mother gives him a crossbow and informs him his marriage will be arranged ASAP. Side note: There were no spoken words throughout the entire thing, duh, so I had to look up what the story was because I had no idea what was going on. Anyways, in Act 2, the prince goes hunting with his new crossbow and comes across a peaceful lake where he sees swans floating across it and spots the Swan Queen, who he finds to be extremely beautiful. She reveals that she has been cursed by an evil sorcerer and turns into a swan every morning until dusk. The curse can only be broken if a man with a pure heart pledges his love to her. As soon as the prince is about to announce his love, they’re interrupted by the sorcerer and the Swan Queen is taken away leaving the prince alone. This was one of my favorite parts of the performance because the ballerinas looked so nice doing their synchronized little tippy taps across the stage and the Swan Queen stood out amongst all of them because her moves looked more powerful but elegant. In Act 3, there is another formal celebration at the palace where the prince is shown many princesses who were all worthy of his attention but he cannot stop thinking about the Swan Queen. He dances with them to please his mother but then the disguised evil sorcerer comes in with the Swan Queen (who isn’t the Swan Queen it gets confusing). He falls for the imposter and starts dancing with her, while the real Swan Queen watches them from a window. This was my favorite portion of the ballet because there were two Swan Queens on the stage, one in black and one in white, and the lights were flashing red and white while the real Swan Queen does a powerful 5-second dance and then runs away with the prince chasing after her.
In the final act, Act 4, the Swan Queen has returned to the lake with the other swans and they’re consoling each other. The prince finds them, explains the situation to the Swan Queen, and she forgives him. Then, the evil sorcerer (not disguised anymore) shows up, there’s a fight, the prince informs the sorcerer that he would rather die with the Swan Queen than marry the imposter, and then they jump into the lake to die together. Because of how it was presented in the ballet production, I thought they lived happily ever after and I left confused since I thought it ended in tragedy. That was cleared up after I read the synopsis of Swan Lake. It was a beautiful performance and I loved being able to see the RBT production, even if it did not correlate with Black Swan, the movie
By: Ashley Hernandez