The Story of Swan Lake

The Story of Swan Lake

Swan Lake is arguably the most famous ballet of all time. Have you heard of Swan Lake, but don’t know the story line? Here it is in a nutshell…

Prince Siegfried is celebrating his 21st birthday. His Queen Mother presents him with a new crossbow…and a wake up call. It’s nearly time to choose a bride from one of six eligible princesses. It seems like the perfect time to escape to a hunting party with his BFF, Benno, and the rest of his friends.
The Story of Swan Lake

Boy meets…swan. It’s after dark and, as Siegfried approaches a moonlit lake, he sights a majestic swan in flight. He takes aim…but the bird becomes a beautiful maiden, who implores him to lower his weapon. For Siegfried and Odette, it’s love at first sight. But this budding romance comes with some baggage.

The Story of Swan Lake

Cursed from the start.  Unfortunately, Odette has met an evil sorcerer first. The vindictive Von Rothbart has cursed Odette, trapping her in the body of a swan. Although she reassumes her human form by night, it will take a pledge of true love to break the spell once and for all.

The Story of Swan Lake
A wolf in sheep’s clothing. Siegfried has made up his mind to swear  his love for Odette, but he hasn’t envisioned the sabotage to come. Back home in the castle, guests — including the princesses — gather for his birthday ball. The Queen Mother pressures Siegfried to choose a bride, but he refuses. Who should waltz in but Von Rothbart and his daughter Odile (!), the spitting image of his beloved Odette…

The Story of Swan Lake
The Ultimate Deception.
Odile dazzles him with her vibrance (and her 32 fouettés) and deceives him into declaring his love to the wrong woman. As Prince Siegfried swears his fidelity, he sees a fleeting vision of Odette, realizing with horror that he’s mistaken his love for her evil twin.

The Story of Swan Lake
Will good or evil prevail?
No spoilers here. You’ll just have to see to find out.


Swan Lake with the PBT Orchestra runs Feb. 16-25, at the Benedum Center. Find your seats here.


4 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away, Pittsburgh! Here are four ideas to help you plan the perfect Pittsburgh date night and the ultimate gift from the heart.  Give a gift that…

Valentine's Day PittsburghInspires

Plan the perfect date with tickets to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Feb. 16-25, production of Swan Lake, ballet’s greatest love story. Dress up, dine out and get lost in this classic story of good versus evil.





Valentine's Day PittsburghKeeps Giving

Or, make that three dates to anticipate! Create a three-ballet package featuring Swan Lake, PBT: New Works and UPMC Presents West Side Story Suite + In the Night + Fancy Free for as little as $81. Plus, your love will eat up these VIP perks.





Valentine's Day PittsburghMoves

Treat the dancer lover in your life to classes at PBT Studios! Sign them up for our Swan Lake workshop, where adult students will learn iconic choreography from the ballet. Or, consider a class pass for PBT Barre Fitness, Pilates and other Community Division dance fitness options.





Valentine's Day PittsburghGives Back

If your special person loves doing good, consider making an honorary gift to Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre to support extraordinary art in our city. Plus, when you donate in a loved one’s name, they can experience behind-the-scenes benefits.


5 Things to Make You Curiouser & Curiouser About ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre opens Derek Deane’s zany Alice in Wonderland this weekend at the Benedum Center. Few things are impossible in this off-kilter world. Beginning with a surreal dive down the rabbit hole, illusion floods the stage with curiosities – a smorgasbord of doors, tutus made of playing cards, color-changing roses and size-shifting scenery. Seen through Deane’s creative lens on classical technique, the dancing complements the whimsy and wit of Lewis Carroll’s timeless story. Here are five things that will make you curiouser and curiouser about this blockbuster production:

1.    You won’t believe your eyes.
Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland takes production value over the top. The scenic design does justice to the surrealist world Lewis Carroll and illustrator John Tenniel created for the page, morphing from scene to scene through an elaborate series of painted drop curtains and 3D set pieces, including a puzzling assortment of doors, the Caterpillar’s toadstool and the Duchess’ house. Illusions add to the wonder – like a size-changing Alice, roses that change color as they’re painted and the rabbit hole’s dizzying succession of floating teacups, clocks and over-sized objects.

2.     It’s a Tchaikovsky ballet.
Alice in Wonderland Queen of Hearts

And you’d never guess he didn’t compose the score specifically for this production. The score is a masterful medley of Tchaikovsky orchestrations arranged, and added to, by Carl Davis. The score includes 15 excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s “Album for the Young” among other whimsical choices.

3.     It has a rock star creative team.
Alice in Wonderland Costume Sketches

The production features costume and set designs by Sue Blane, costume designer for the original stage and screen versions of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” and illusions by Paul Kieve, who consulted on some of the Harry Potter films. The concept and choreography come from inventive choreographer Derek Deane, who originally created the work for English National Ballet, the company he led as artistic director for nearly 10 years. Dean was awarded the Order of the British Empire for Excellence in Dance in 2000, and he’s choreographed three world premiere works for PBT: Hungry Heart . . . We All Have One! (2004), Simply Simon (2005) and Anything Goes! (2006).

4.     You won’t recognize our dancers.
Alice in Wonderland, Hare & Mad Hatter
The wardrobe is utterly transformative. With 90 costumes, it brilliantly brings to life the curious characters Alice meets along her mind-bending journey – favorites from the original Carroll story like the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar and Queen of Hearts. Wardrobe also includes 18 wigs and 30 prosthetic pieces, like the Mat Hatter’s nose and chin, the White Rabbit’s nose, upper lip and ears, the Duchess’ jowls, nose and ears, and the Caterpillar’s nose. The character makeup can take hours for each performance.

5.    The dancing is dreamy.

Don’t let the production value fool you – the choreography holds its own alongside the madcap illusions and scenery. For each of the Lewis Carroll characters, Deane has devised a quirky movement vocabulary – like the undulating dance of the Caterpillar or the harried hops (and virtuosic solos) of the White Rabbit – to give them space to show off both personality and technique. The production also taps into the classical sweep of the corps de ballet – first as a twirling garden of Tiger Lilies, Pansies and Sweet Peas and then as a deck of cards with square tutus and a neoclassical edge to their movements.

PBT presents Alice in Wonderland Feb. 10-19, at the Benedum Center for nine performances, including a 7:30 p.m. Valentine’s Day performance. Don’t miss this very important date. Get your seats before it’s too late!

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