Ballet, A Black Swan, Intrigue and Menace …

02/02/2011 § Leave a comment

How do you feel about the ballet?  The grace and athleticism, the strength and anguish, the beauty, the menace all told in a story of silent movement and interaction.

I was chatting to a dancer a couple of weeks ago and we were recounting tales of The Dance of the Cygnets from Swan Lake.  She immediately crossed her arms, placed her feet in 3rd and drifted across the room, much to the consternation of the collies!  Immediately, her presence and grace filled the room, even though she was just about to put on her coat for the home journey, and was wearing a sturdy pair of boots!

Last evening I watched The Black Swan …


The Black Swan poster

The Black Swan film posterNatalie Portman as The Black Swan

Perfection at such a high price it seemed, and I know that many ballerinas experience real discomfort so they can reach the top of their game.  I came away unable to decide whether I’d really enjoyed myself or not.  However, as I’ve been thinking about the plot and now having ready a couple of reviews that describe the film as a psychological thriller I think I’ve gained a better understanding of what was, undoubtedly, a memorable movie.  Natalie Portman was a convincing ballerina, apparently spending many months in training for the part.  She looked so different from the child in the film Leon – I’d never have recognised her.

For me, my love of ballet goes back to when I was 3 years old and went to my first ballet classes.  I danced on the stage of the New Theatre in Cardiff and was hooked!  I go to see ENB whenever they perform locally.  Most memorable though, was in 1981 when I saw Nureyev dance with the Boston Ballet.  He was nearing the end of his dancing days, but commanded absolute authority on stage.  Here  he is with his most famous partner …

Nureyev and Fonteyn

Nureyev and Fonteyn
Fonteyn in Swan Lake

Fonteyn in Swan Lake


Fonteyn in Swan Lake

Fonteyn in Swan Lake

Fonteyn and the Swans

Fonteyn and the swans



Was Margot Fonteyn the greatest British ballerina?

I think so!

And my favourite dance from a ballet – well it’s from The Sleeping Beauty – The Rose Adagio.














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