This week, we are looking at the music of the Russian composer Tchaikovsky. He wrote a ballet called 'Swan Lake'.
Swan Lake is about a prince named Siegfried. He falls in love with the Swan princess, Odette. She is a swan by day, but a young woman at night. She is under a magic spell that can only be broken by a man who will make a promise to love her for all time. Siegfried makes the promise. He is tricked though by the magician who cast the spell. The ballet ends with the deaths of Siegfried and Odette.
The ballet was first performed on 4 March 1877 in Moscow, Russia.
Danse des petits cygnes is a famous dance from Swan Lake, from the ballet's second act. Translated from French, it means "Dance of the Little Swans". It is very challenging because all dancers must look the same.
The choreography was meant to show the way cygnets huddle and move together for protection. Four dancers enter the stage in a line and move across with their arms crossed in front of one another, grasping the next dancers' hands. They move sideways, doing sixteen pas de chat. Ideally the dancers move at exactly the same time. At the very end, they break their chain and try to "fly", only to drop to the ground.