Dancing in the moonlight

Dancing in the moonlight

A beautiful performance of Swan Lake showed ballet isn't boring

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Gao Ge performs as Odile (Black Swan) and Li Jiabo performs as Prince Siegfried
Gao Ge performs as Odile (Black Swan) and Li Jiabo performs as Prince Siegfried
Photo: Conrado Dy-Liacco

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Gao Ge's performance as the White Swan captured the beauty and sadness of the ballet.
Gao Ge's performance as the White Swan captured the beauty and sadness of the ballet.
Photo: Conrado Dy-Liacco

It is one of the most beautiful and tragic ballets ever created. Earlier this year, Hong Kong Ballet adapted the timeless Swan Lake for a younger audience.

Young Post junior reporter Jason Hung Tsun-sung attended one of the performances of Ballet Classics for Children: Swan Lake.

Here's what he thought about Tchaikovsky's masterpiece ...

A tragic story

Swan Lake is widely regarded as a masterpiece of classical ballet. Early this year, Hong Kong Ballet staged a version so that younger audiences could appreciate the art, music and story.

In the local production, narrator Rick Lau gave a funny introduction to the usually tragic story of Swan Lake.

Shortly afterwards, we were told that the Queen had arrived, and the audience was asked to stand up and greet Her Majesty. It was this kind of interaction which was particularly appreciated by the younger audience at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre.

Eternal love

The Queen elegantly sat on the throne with maids and servants dutifully standing behind, creating a very solemn atmosphere. This was further enhanced by the Queen's beautiful, full-length silk gown, which added class.

Later, the Queen invited three princesses to the palace so that her son, Prince Siegfried, could pick one as his wife. But the prince was not attracted to any of them. Instead, he went into the forest, where he fell in love with Odette, a beautiful princess, by a lake.

Odette was cursed by evil sorcerer Von Rothbart, who made her transform into a swan every day, only returning to her original human form at night. The curse could only be broken by a vow of eternal love from a young man.

Odette thought Prince Siegfried was the young man who could break the curse. But he instead sealed the curse forever when he vowed his eternal love for Odile, the daughter of Von Rothbart, who was magically disguised as Odette.

Touching performance

The story of the two lovers' tragic fate, the ballet dancers' deep expressions of love, and the melancholic music brought tears to my eyes.

The performance was extraordinarily touching. At the end, we applauded and rushed to take photos with the ballerinas outside the theatre.

Thanks to their unrivalled talents, the show was indeed as graceful as a swan. The other highlight of the performance was the background scenery. For instance, the painted lake helped create a strong feeling of natural sadness.

Behind the magic

Afterwards it was my honour to interview the narrator. Lau is a celebrated voice-over artist. Two years ago, the artistic curator of Hong Kong Ballet invited him to participate in Swan Lake because he believed Lau could make classical ballet appear less "scary".

His narration helped the audience understand the significance of the dancing and the music. For example, when the Queen pointed to her ring, it was to urge her son to get married.

Lau admires the discipline and the motivation of the dancers.

He hopes the performance will inspire youngsters to get involved in ballet, and also help build a new generation that is passionate about beautiful art.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Dancing in the moonlight

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