The Dance of the Iconic Swan
What is your Swan Song? Odette’s variation is a devotional dance of transformation and its mastery lies in the perpetual story of the dancer’s own Swan Song. The white swan symbolizes light, or one’s highest self that is pure love.
She glides gracefully along the water, neck arched with her stately head held high. Her feathers couldn’t be any more white. They gleam and look so soft and so smooth to the touch. She’s often seen in this way, gliding on the mirror-like surface of a lake, but she takes to the wing too. Her enormous wingspan reaches out as if it may touch the ends of the sky and her elegant neck stretches out, long and forward venturing into the vastness of the universe.
For more, read the wonderful blog post by Wild Gratitude titled Spirit Animals: Serene Swan. I think you will love it!
There are amazing YouTube videos of this variation. Take a look here at our Ballet For Adults Playlist on how dancers brings their own style to the role. Also in this playlist is the variation altered for the adult ballerina, by The Last Dancer. Finally, try a few videos on exercises for swan arms that can be done while multi-tasking. Note: I have noticed that my neck and left calf are a bit overworked from all this. I think that is due to the swan arms and a lot of left turns. If you are practicing at home, try to keep your port de bras gentle without so much resistance. If your head is not held up while doing the swan arm workouts, there is a lot more pressure on your neck.
The exact title for the white swan’s variation is Variation of Odette (Moderato assai-Molto più mosso No. 13-2), meaning for dancers that it is not quite an Allegro but almost. It is usually performed near the end of Act II, after the famous four swans and before the Pas de Deux. The dance is simple and short. The setting is a moonlit night by a lake that is filled with tears. Swan Lake has endured for over 130 years largely due to the great music of Tchaikovsky. The entrancing ballet pulls us into the emotional drama every time. The spirit of the swan is matched beautifully alongside the virtues of ballet.
I can’t wait to give it a try!