It’s perhaps the most iconic dance segment in the world-famous 19th-century ballet Swan Lake. It begins in Act II, when enchanted swan maidens, costumed in pristine white tutus, enter a moonlit lakeside scene one by one in what’s often been called the greatest possible accomplishment for a corps de ballet.
It’s a sight to behold.
From the upstage corner in a series of simple repetitive steps, the dancers file in. As dance writer Jennifer Homans describes in her 2011 book Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, the swan maidens “weave a serpentine pattern until they are ranked across the stage in straight, symmetrical lines …[from which they are sent] into a series of sculptured patterns that carve through space, break apart and recombine.”
Thanks to this season’s collaboration between BalletMet Columbus and Cincinnati Ballet, every one of the required 24 swans will fill the stage this weekend at downtown’s Aronoff Center. The total cast includes 109 performers.
Cincinnati Ballet and BalletMet present Swan Lake Friday through Sunday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: cballet.org.