The Unsung Heroes of "Swan Lake"

November 28, 2001

When ballet companies perform Swan Lake, all buzz tends to be about the ballerinas dancing Odette/Odile. But what would the work be without its corps of swan maidens?

Though not in the spotlight, their task is, in many ways, just as challenging as the Swan Queen’s: They must maintain perfect unison, moving and breathing as one, to create some of the ballet’s spine-tingling moments. Oh, and they have to avoid foot cramps (not to mention suffer through itches that can’t be scratched) during long periods of standing, when they’re essentially living scenery.

The National Ballet of Canada performs Swan Lake this week and next, and the company put together a video talking to corps dancers about what it’s like to be Swan #16 (or #5, or #22). It’s fascinating, and it gives Swan Lake‘s unsung heroes some of the credit they deserve. Take a look*:

*YouTube seems to be having issues today. You can also find the video here.