By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, Swan Lake, will be brought to life this month by the Cia Brasileira Ballet company, performing at various theaters across Rio. Award winning director Jorge Texeira sits at the head of the company, promising a breathtaking show full of drama and intrigue.
Having served as a director of the CBB for over eleven years, Texeira is also known for discovering young and talented dancers. Interestingly, the director is responsible for exporting more Brazilian professionals overseas than the football (soccer) industry.
A highly regarded company, the Cia Braileira Ballet was previously chosen to perform two renowned productions, the Russian Kirov Ballet in 2011, and the Ukrainian Virsky in 2012. They have also recently returned to Rio after attending the Karmiel Dance Festival in Israel, which culminated in a tour of the country.
The performance, consisting of 42 dancers, opened on October 3rd at the Carlos Gomes Theater but will move on to the Dicró arena in Penha on October 27th and 28th. Following this, the troupe will perform at the Arena Jovelina in Pavuna, Zona Norte (North Zone), on October 31st and November 1st after which they will make a one off appearance at the Imperator in Méier on November 7th.
First performed in 1877, Swan Lake or “O Lago dos Cisnes” as it is known in Brazil, has remained a popular production worldwide but increasingly so thanks to Darren Aronofsky’s film adaptation, Black Swan, in 2010. It tells the story of Odette (the white swan), a princess trapped in the body of a swan who can only be freed by the love of a virgin prince.
One day, prince Siegfried happens upon the lake at nightfall and witnesses Odette changing in to her human form. They dance and fall in love however the devious Von Rothbart disguises his daughter Odile (the black swan, performed by the same ballerina) as Odette and the Prince mistakenly falls in love with her.
The spell over Odette is now permanent and, bound in her swan form for all eternity; she drowns herself in order to be free. The Prince, heartbroken, also kills himself so that he may be reunited with Odette in heaven.
Technically, the swan dance is one of the most complex pieces of the classical repertoire, largely due to the Italian ballerina Pierina Legnani, who to play the main characters of Odette and Odile raised the level to a very high standard, performing a staggering 32 fouettés at once. This later became the standard requirement.
As well as a source of great pride for many dance enthusiasts, the Cia Brasileira Ballet also acts as a social project, helping talented yet underprivileged individuals to become involved in the dance industry. Many of the company’s dancers originated in the NGO ‘Crianda Carioca’ which subsidizes 140 students selected from under-privileged communities throughout Brazil, providing them with accommodation and dance training.
Jorge Texeira exlpained, “I very soon discovered that this is what makes me happy. To live according to the company and the struggle to maintain NGO activity and not let talented dancers give up their career because of financial [barriers].”
To witness this skillful adaptation of Swan Lake by the Cia Brasileira Ballet company, visit their website for more details. Tickets can be purchased at the theater at least thirty minutes before the performance. Tickets cost R$20 and R$10 for concessionaires.