She Loves Him…Not?

Swan Corps KCBalletMedia
KCB Dancers in Swan Lake. Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios.” by KCBalletMedia. Licensed under CC Attribution 2.0 Generic.

Interesting analysis on Odette from Alastair Macaulay:

“Today the traditional “Swan Lake” is usually played like a sentimental “women’s” movie: the swan-queen Odette gives her heart to Prince Siegfried even though he promptly proves himself Prince Wrong by plighting his troth to her wicked lookalike Odile, and of course the martyred Odette then goes on loving him. But both scenario and choreography are more interesting than that: they leave it wholly ambiguous about whether she ever returns his love. She merely needs him to love her so that she may find release from swan form; and the choreography, which focuses on her indecision, shows just how mixed her feelings are about committing herself to accepting his support.

In her constant need to keep withdrawing from him, and her muted response to his ardor, the real suggestion that used to emerge was that she felt unable ever fully to respond to him, as if sensing a reluctant frigidity within herself that she could not eradicate. That’s a far more interesting psychodrama that the one we usually see onstage today.”

– Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times, “For Ballet, Plots Thicken, or Just Stick?” Aug. 4, 2010


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