The various artists who have accomplished rendering this timeless piece show how dance has evolved simultaneous with culture.
Anna Pavlova’s performance of the “Dying Swan” is that conventional ballet we have come to know. The piece is nothing less than pure perfection with the lines of the dancer and the precision of every step flawless with the music. The choreography is with such intensity that it ends in a rupture of what the theme essentially evokes and the sadness that it grabs from the audience. Mikhail Fokine has created the piece that the technique is the main focal point such that it deserves the term classical ballet in every possible sense. The movements are almost entirely on miniscule tiptoes with the emphasized pointes and attitude that it does resemble a swan. The outstretching of the arms and the graceful flailing makes for the swan in Swan Lake and the essence of femininity.
The Odette solo choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov is similarly technical and envelopes the entire performance in classical grace. The slow, romantic music makes for the mood which sets the tone of the recital. Then the music progresses into a more intense and faster beat but no less romantic and this is coupled by the multiple fouettes that makes Swan Lake the dread and the ambition of any ballet artist. The soft music of the background allows the dancer to engage the audience into the female aura of force and grace combined into one character. This piece is a showcase of technique and execution as Swan Lake is originally envisioned.
Dada Masilo is the face of ballet that challenges the conventions and redefines what the classics dictate the art form to be. Her performance of the Odette solo is that embodiment of ballet which incorporates other modern dance genres away from such a strict notion of what ballet should be. It is by no means a coincidence that she is not even wearing the staple ballet shoes.