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Greenlit: Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake, BBC4

Good Swan, Bad Swan: Dancing Swan Lake  (1 x 60′) –  Tamara Rojo, world-famous ballerina and Artistic Director of English National Ballet, will take viewers backstage as she prepares for one of classical ballet’s biggest challenges, the dual lead in Swan Lake.

It is the ultimate role for any dancer requiring her to play the completely contrasting characters: Odette the White Swan, and Odile, the Black Swan. The role demands not only superlative acting skills, but extreme stamina and the ability to master complex choreography, as well as the awe-inspiring capacity to dance 32 fouetté turns perfectly.

With unprecedented access, the disarmingly candid Rojo reveals her insights on the role’s physical and psychological challenges. She takes us into the hidden world of the corps de ballet, and through demonstration and masterclass she reveals how to read the choreography of some of Swan Lake’s most famous scenes.

Along the way, Rojo gives us a glimpse of Swan Lake’s history – its genesis through to 21st century incarnations. She looks back at some of the greats that inspired her (including the Bolshoi’s soviet star Galina Ulanova and legendary Natalia Makarova), and leads the way forward, coaching the next generation of rising stars who bring their own fresh interpretation.

Beyond the dancing, Rojo examines some of the reasons behind Swan Lake’s extraordinary success, such as Tchaikovsky’s captivating and innovative score, and how the remarkable collaboration of two great choreographers – Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov – fused the formal and naturalistic to create a phenomenon unseen before in the history of ballet.

Swan Lake is one of classical ballet’s best-loved and most popular stories – a lyrical and tragic fairytale with spellbinding choreography that continues to challenge the world’s greatest dancers. Through rehearsals, performance, interview, and specially filmed workshops, this film celebrates Swan Lake as an evolving and living work of art – the ultimate classic.

Channel: BBC2

TX: 9th March 2014

Source: BBC press release

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