The best Dying Swan

I agree that ‘Originals never change- they only get better’…in most cases. This picture features dancers from Matthew Bourne’s, ‘Swan lake’ where the men are swans (where ‘Billy’ ends up in the end of the film, ‘Billy Elliot’). The deviation from the original choreography is, in many ways, more to my liking; it has much  more humor and modern dance elements, and takes out a lot of the ballet pantomime to tell the story. I’m still not sure I’d call it better, just different and satisfying in a different way.  Kind of the same way sometimes it’s great to wear a cocktail dress and other times, I prefer pajamas.

Speaking of pajamas, I really think Natalie Portman should have worn this Miu Miu Spring 2011 dress to the Oscars.

But maybe she was intimidated to follow Bjork’s famous 2001 Swan Dress incident.

I would definitely prefer the Mui Mui dress over the Marjan Pejoski disaster. I’m surprised PETA hasn’t been knocking on that door; it looks a bit too much like a dead carcass draped around her neck rather than an actual garment to me. It would be a great costume piece for Cruella Deville’s bird-hating cousin should they ever make a 101 Swans movie. Now THAT would be a corps de ballet!

Which would you wear?

Actually I liked the black tutu Ms. Portman wore in the film, minus the fact that it was strapless. There is no way that would stay in place while dancing, let alone any partnered work. I think perhaps I just always will take black over white because I would also rather wear the ridiculous unitard worn by figure skating ‘bad-boy’ Johnny Weir in his rendition of Dying Swan (NOT connected to Swan Lake, in case anyone was wondering) What, what, WHAT is that stupid little red glove? I’m guessing the beak. Credit where it’s due, he’s a phenomenal skater. But how DARE  he corrupt my favorite piece of ballet music (by Camille Saint Saens) with something so silly? It would be like Odette- the White Swan in ‘Swan Lake’- wearing Bjork’s dress instead of a tutu. Fashion faux pas! Fashion faux swan dress!

please johnny, please let it be the ‘swan song’ for that outfit! Or give it to me

But if we’re talking about swans and who wore it best- the role that is- I have to thank technology again for the amazing powers of youtube which allows me to watch the most perfect ballet dancer maybe on the planet- renowned dancer of the Mariinksy Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia- Ulyana Lopatkina. I saw her perform the role of Nakiya in ‘La Bayadere’ in 2006 while I was in Russia and I was immediately ballet-smitten. (There is a little sketch of her that I did from my journal I kept in Russia under the ‘Serious Art and other Doodles’ Category)

I think this is the best rendition of Dying Swan I’ve encountered, even if Natalia Makarova would roll over in her grave for my saying so! Lopatkina is still serene and lovely while ‘dying’ while Makarova looks to me, like she’s experiencing swan rigor mortis and is about to defecate all over herself. Plus her feet are terrible! But then, pointe shoes were very different back then and you can chalk it up to the new developments in the variety, shape, and strength of shoes that enhance the look and function of this very important tool. And in that sense, it’s true, we can only get better. As long as we check our Swan dresses at the door.

4 thoughts on “The best Dying Swan

  1. You inspired me to watch her in Swan Lake too. Ahh – such grace! Also, feel free to write me into a ballet as a Queen Mother who wears awesome dresses and sits on a throne. 🙂

  2. Pingback: ABT ‘La Bayadere’: Review | BODIES NEVER LIE

  3. Pingback: The Scientific reason why Ballet will never be Perfect | BODIES NEVER LIE

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