In my mind Swan Lake is one of the most romantic love stories. And I am especially in love with Royal Ballet’s rendition. For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to be enchanted by this ballet, here’s how it goes. The handsome Prince Siegfried falls for a beautiful swan, Odette…or rather a beautiful woman who is a swan by day because an evil sorcerer has cast a spell on her.
Once the Prince is smitten with Odette, the sorcerer snatches her from his grasp and casts a spell on his daughter, Odile, to make her look like Odette. Tricked, the Prince agrees to marry the wrong woman. When he realizes his error, he fights for his true love and breaks the spell.
My experience of seeing Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake was especially enchanting because my friend Matthew Golding was playing the role of the Prince (pictured above). I had just turned seventeen when I got to know him. You can probably tell how young we were from the picture below, which was taken outside the stage door. Matt was training with the Royal Ballet School and had been injured for about a year. Every dance step he took brought him pain, but he refused to give up. And look at him now! I’m so proud, and he is such an inspiration for others facing any difficulty.
I also have a soft spot in my heart for Swan Lake because I performed in it when I trained with American Ballet Theatre. Those were the old days when I thought strapping on pointe shoes felt comfortable:)