I recently took my 4-year-old to ‘My First Ballet: Swan Lake’ and she thoroughly enjoyed it. The theatre was packed with excited children, not least my daughter.
“When are they starting?” asked Daisy, repeatedly. This was just the beginning of the barrage of questions to come.
“Is she/he a goodie or a baddie?”
“What’s going to happen next?”
“Is he going to turn into anything?”
“Is she wearing blocks?”
As the ballet was meant to be an introduction, this constant questioning was fine. Nobody batted an eyelid. Sometimes I answered the question, other times, I encouraged her to wait and listen to the narrator. The narrator did a great job; she punctuated the ballet and explained the plot, and how the characters were feeling (as well as how we could see this).
It is a shortened version of the ballet and has a slightly different end.
We see the wizard, Rothbart, trying to gain Odette’s affection. When she refuses to marry him, he casts a spell and turns her into a swan.
Prince Siegfried is having a party with his friends; all is well. The Queen however arrives with a crossbow for his 18th birthday and says he needs to grow up and find a bride. The Prince and his friends go after a flock of swans.
The friends end up leaving Siegfried behind, following the swans. Prince Siegfried then meets Odette, who was a swan, by the lake. She tell him about the spell the evil Rothbart has put them under. She is only a human at night and will stay this way, unless someone who has never been in love before promises to love her for eternity.
Rothbart appears and pulls Odette away.
The Prince looks for Odette and finds her among more swans. She and Siegried begin to fall in love. Rothbart being non too happy, pulls her away and hatches a plan…
Act II scene 1:
The scene starts at Siegfried’s birthday ball. After a short while, Rothbart and his sister Odile arrive. Rothbart has tricked her to go to the ball and try and get the Prince to fall in love with her. She weras a mask and so looks like Odette.
Will Siegfried fall for her we wondered? Will he break Rothbart’s spell?
He did! And swore his love for her. Just then Odile saw her friend Odette and realised what her brother had done. What’s more, she takes off her disguise and tells everyone about the trick her brother had played.
She takes off her disguise, tells everyone the truth, and that the true love belongs to Siegfried and Odette. She begs Rothbart to undo his spell but he refuses and leaves. The Prince hurries back to the lake to find Odette. Odile follows because she is worried what the angry Rothbart may do to Odette and Siegfried.
Act II scene 2:
Odette is heartbroken and Rothbart very angry. Rothbart tries to get to Odile, but the swans protect her.
Siegfried is devastated to think his true love is dead as he finds her on the ground surrounded by the swans. She isn’t of course and she forgives him. Now to try and break the spell. Odile begs Rothbart to, but he refuses. Surely there’s no way out. I was hoping at the point that there would be.
Following a fight Odile falls to the floor. Rothbart repents his wicked ways and Odile forgives him. She takes away his wings and he gives up his powers. Odette and Siegried are free to be together and all live happily ever after. Long live introduction to the ballet!
Why we loved the ballet:
It was a beautiful ballet.
The narrator brought the dancers moves to life.
It was just the right length.
We didn’t have to be quiet!
It had a happy end 🙂
I will probably take my daughter to a ‘proper one’ next time (though if there’s a ‘my First’ for another ballet, we will definitely go to that!).