Audiences often associate Swan Lake with its Act II, a stalwart of the classical repertoire so powerfully identifiable by the whiteness of its choreography accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s legendary score. Act II of Swan Lake can be considered as one of the first abstract ballets. A ballet to be contemplated without worrying about what is being said.
LAC by Jean-Christophe Maillot is another narrative ballet. In Swan Lake, everything is obscure, complicated and rich in meaning… Tchaikovsky himself came up with the idea of writing a symphonic ballet about a human creature whose metamorphosis would make any love impossible. The creation of the swan, from Greek, Nordic and Russian legends, makes it a fascinating hybrid being from its very conception.
In collaboration with the writer Jean Rouaud, Jean-Christophe Maillot revives the torments of a story connected to our nightmares. These buried experiences are resurrected and combined against a Machiavellian, family backdrop used to present a ballet of contrasts. The change from animal into human being infuses the entire work and questions our own nature. We believe that we differ from animals because of our ability to make choices. But is this all we are capable of? Are we not after all just as lost as this Prince? Jean-Christophe Maillot shows him faltering between white and black, good and evil, innocence and eroticism. Perhaps our humanity ultimately lies in this unsophisticated insatiability that defines us from our first cry – We want everything!
This film of Lac won the top award at the 2103 Golden Prague, as ‘Best Performing Arts Program’, where it was described as ‘A ravishing stage production offering the spectator a thrilling interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece through contemporary dance’.