Natalie Portman In Ballet Shoes

{flickr|100|campaign} Swan Lake is a ballet thought to have been composed between 1875/6, it is based on Russian folk tales (such as ‘The White Duck’ Russian fairy tale) and ancient German stories. Swan Lake tells of the story of a Princess turned into a swan by an evil socerer. It was first preformed as ‘The Lake of Swans’ at the Bolshoi theatre in Moscow in 1877.

The earliest origins of the play are not certain, one theory suggests it was written by Vladimir Petrovich Begichev director of the Moscow imperial Theatres. Bagichev commissioned the score of Swan Lake from Tchaikovsky in 1875 for 800 roubles, Sawn Lake eventually premiered on the 4th March 1877 with Pelageya Karpakova playing the role of Odette, this premiere was not succesful and criticism was levelled at the dancers, orchestra and decor, whilst Tchaikovsky’s score was lost in the criticism. The story’s German elements resulted in unpronouncable surnames of its characters, not to mention that Karpakova was a secondary soloist and not the prima ballerina, overall the verdict was that the story was too complicated for a ballet.

Although the premier was poorly received, Swan Lake ran between 1877 and 1883 with 41 performances and with 4 performances between 1898 and 1899. Since it’s premier every balletmaster or choreographer has re-staged Swan Lake with modifications, some have occured due to an evolution of ballet technique. These include ‘Illusions Like Swan Lake’ in 1976 by John Neumeier of the Hamburg Ballet, Matthew Bourne’s Swan lake in 1995, the 2000 American Ballet Theatre version and Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake in 2002 which focuses on a love triangle.

Since its inception, Swan Lake has gone through a number of transformations for both stage and screen, the latest inspiration takes the form of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan, which includes a superb performance by Natalie Portman in ballet shoes. Playing the ambitious ballerina Nina Sayers, Natalie Portman’s character plays both the roles of the white and black swan in this re-invention of Swan Lake.

The actress put on her dancing shoes in preparing for role had a year of ballet training, including phycological preparation by studying and spending time with dancers. It is a physcological thriller set in the backstage world of a fictional New York ballet company, with Swan Lake playing part of the story.

In the film Nina struggles to find her own identity and cares too much about what other people think of her – thereby seeing herself through other peoples eyes, as the film grows she starts looking at world through her own eyes as part of the evolution of artists, a strong performance in which Natalie portman’s dazzles with her acting and ballet skills.