I went to see Dada Masilo’s Swan Lake a couple of nights ago with an unlikely date, my son – who came out of his first ballet experience, somewhat unimpressed. I, on the other hand, together with the entire Wednesday night audience was blown away.
After the final dramatic scene, which has an interesting twist, the audience got to its feet and gave an overwhelming ovation. It was not Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet as you know it, but more a raucous combination of classical ballet and African dance.
The ballet’s South African choreographer, Dada Masilo is renowned for her reworking of classic ballets – she has already put her spin on Romeo & Juliet, as well as Carmen. In her interpretation of Swan Lake, Odette, the white swan and Odile, the black swan, compete for Siegfried’s love. I wondered how the homosexual overtures would go down with the audience, but from what I saw, there were no outraged walk-outs.
Masilo, who trained in classical and contemporary dance has dressed all the dancers, male and female, in feathers and tutus; has cast Odette as an African bride whose lobola (bride price) has already been paid for by the ambivalent Siegfried’s parents; and has fused both genres of dance to create a highly entertaining ballet. I absolutely enjoyed it, and chuckled each time there was ululating on the stage, during the lobola celebrations, and the audience looked around wondering, what was that? Just an African wedding celebration is all.
The show has been sold out for every night since it opened a month ago, and it’s on until the 6th October at Théâtre du Rond Point.
|Photo courtesy: Suzette Le Sueur|