Essay – Swan Lake
Marius Petipa and Lez Ivanov’s Swan Lake was performed in 1895, towards the end of the Romantic ballet era. Historical context of the time had a large impact on the ballets being produced. The experiences and ideas of the choreographers also influenced and developed the world of ballet. Petipa and Ivanov’s Swan Lake transformed ballet. The white acts herald a romantic ballet, whereas in overall form and design it was one of the first classical ballets. It is clear however that the Romantic preoccupation with fantasy and supernatural is a definitive theme. The movement, characterisations and storyline contribute in the portrayal of this. Petipa and Ivanov’s collaboration along with Tchaikovsky’s music gave Swan Lake its legend of greatness that it holds today.
Predominantly in Europe during the 1830’s and 1840’s there was a vogue for exotic, escapist fantasy which dominated the artistic world. It was partially a revolt against aristocratic, social and political constraints and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature. This was known as the time of Romanticism. The movement emphasized strong emotion, especially emotions experienced in confronting untamed nature and its picturesque qualities. It elevated folk art and custom as noble because of its simplicity and bond to nature. Medievalism was also worshipped for its primitive, raw qualities. Romanticism was an attempt to escape the confines of population growth, urban sprawl and industrialism. It attempted to embrace the exotic, unfamiliar and distant in more authentic ways, harnessing the power of the imagination to envision and to escape.
The movement choreographed for Romantic Ballets centres mainly on female ballerinas. Women could dance with great fluidity and lightness making them look ghostly and supernatural, a feature which