Le Lac des cygnes ou Chacun des cygnes est une Odette

Le texte qui suit a été écrit par un des cygnes qui peuplent la scène de l’Opéra de Copenhague pour encore quelques semaines: Holly Jean Dorger. Un texte en anglais que je ne m’aventurerai pas à traduire en français. Le titre qui me vient à l’esprit pour cet article est une petite phrase de quatre mots insérée dans le texte: « Everyone is an Odette »: Every single swan is an Odette ou Chacun des cygnes est une Odette.

Ainsi, chacun des danseurs ailés du Lac des cygnes s’est individuellement saisi du rôle d’Odette. Je dédie cette série de 45 photos à Hilary Guswiler et à tous les cygnes de l’Opéra de Copenhague.


Hilary Guswiler (Odette) et Gregory Paul Dean (Prince Siegfried)


Swan Lake. Swan Lake is a pure, classical ballet. It automatically comes to ones mind when ballet is mentioned. Everything that ballet holds in its reputation can be found in this story; tutu’s, pointe shoes, large court scenes, a jester for smiles, and lines of girls dressed in white draped around the stage moving and posing as live scenery. It is beautiful. Swan Lake could be a definition of the word.

Before the curtain calls, and before the audiences’ large applause can echo throughout the theater, comes the rehearsal period to put up such a production. The process is not a light one. The rehearsal room is filled with emotional and physical ups and downs in challenges for every individual. Every dancer is being pushed to his/her limits. There is pain from repetition and injuries. Your feet in your shoes become more uncomfortable as the hours pass and blisters form even before you could have thought twice to prevent them… Mentally your mind is fighting too. You must learn the choreography quickly, while attaining the mindset of a swan and try to keep thoughts of worry about having enough energy to get through the ballet at eight o’clock to eleven o’clock at night out of your head. A run of the production can feel like a marathon. Then add upper body, and emotional connection to your movements and it is more accurate to say it feels like running two ballets in one. Swan lake is not an easy task. Practicing to be a swan naturally makes every female dancer into a ballerina. The music pulls at your heart to get lost in to the world of feminine ballet. When the costumes, lights and scenery is added, the feelings of this world are only enhanced. That is part of the beauty that Swan Lake can create.

There may be 24 swans creating Swan lake but every night it could be a different swan to be found by her prince. A swan in the corps cannot be treated or thought upon as just another swan. Every single swan has its own story with their own personal struggles. Everyone is an Odette. It just happens that this evening the audience is going to witness the unfolding story of the Odette that is standing out in-front of us all that this prince picked out.

It is a challenge for any ballerina to dance as an Odette Odile. Once accomplished though she can be said to be a classical ballerina. A classical ballet creates a classical ballerina. Simple. The emotional level required by the Swan Queen cannot be faked with tricks to convince the audience. Through ones personal life experience and emotion the ballerina will give her interpretation of the character but always starting from deep within herself. There is a responsibility that comes with the title in the white swan, Odette. It is a huge obstacle that only a rare handful of dancers can truly accomplish.

This ballet believes in purity. The ballet believes in love. Every white swan holds the essence of that powerful source within her. Swan Lake shows that love can be tested and events can come close to ruining it. As the black swan, Odile, tries to accomplish in the third act. If the sincere truth can be kept; if a bond of true love is found, it should be protected and held onto. This emotion, I hope, floods into the audience to touch them.

This ballet is a fight on many levels. From the beginning of the rehearsal process to the end of the run of performances, to within the story itself. All the swans are projecting the image and reminder to us all to fight to keep what is true. And that is a beautiful thing.


Text Copyright Holly Jean Dorger – Photographies Copyright David Amzallag

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