The recent success and critical acclaim for Darren Aronofsky’s magnificent film ‘Black Swan’ has brought ballet back to center stage. Torontonians in particular are in for a real treat: Russia’s Mariinsky (Kirov) Ballet, who first performed the dance in 1895, will be traveling to our city to perform the ballet for only a week in March. Advance reviews are already in with the show proclaimed to be an absolute spectacle that serves both as an excellent place for a beginner ballet enthusiast to start or for a seasoned fan to appreciate.
The classic Tchaikovsky-penned ballet is by now a true staple of the dance, in which the innocent and sweet maiden Odette is captured by an evil sorcerer who places her under an evil enchantment. A swan by day and a woman by night, Odette can only break the spell by a man’s pledge to love her forever. Fortunately, Odette and Prince Siegfried meet and fall in love at first sight, with him promising he will make her his bride.
However, on the night of his crucial speech, the evil sorcerer disguises his own daughter, Odile, in Odette’s form, making Odile the Black Swan. Prince Siegfried inadvertently swears to love Odile as the real Odette watches from afar. When the Prince realizes the mistake he has made, he joins Odette by the lake and the two drown in it together. Their deaths cause the evil Sorcerer to lose his power and die as they ascend to heaven.
Although the ballet is certainly grim, it is also beautifully haunting. If you want the best Swan Lake experience, the Mariinsky Ballet’s performance simply has to be the one to see. The dance was based on Russian folk tales, choreographed in a traditional Scandinavian style, and has been an intense cultural specialty in Russia for over a century.
The Mariinsky Ballet will be performing Swan Lake at the Sony Center for the Arts from March 1-5 at 8PM and on March 6 at 2PM. Tickets start at $60 each, with the option for a prix fixe dinner for an additional $40. The Sony Center is located at 1 Front Street East, a short walk away from Union Station.