(ANIMAL NEWS) FRANCE — Bird ballet dancers? A French choreographer thinks it’s possible. Luc Petton’s ballet, Swan, opened June 6, 2012, and includes live swans in the performances. Each swan grew up living with the dancers in order for the humans to understand the true essence of the birds. Is this performance an opportunity for the dancers and spectators to learn more about these beautiful birds? Or is it just another example of the exploitation of animals in entertainment? Tell us what you think. — Global Animal
Animal Planet, Janet McCulley
Swan, is the brain child of French choreographer, Luc Petton. This first-ever ballet, featuring performers with toe-shoes as well as webbed toes, will debut on June 6th in France and is definitely the black swan of performance art. It employs dancers of the feathery-variety – namely, swans!
Rehearsal for Swan took began even before the swans were born and Petton hand picked his swans even before they were born and still nestled inside their eggs. Little did these feathered friends know they were destined for stardom. Upon hatching, Petton had his dancers live with the swans, getting both species of dancers familar and comfortable with each other.
Pirouette. Pirouette. Now the gander.
Petton asserts that the dancers’ time spent with the swans has revealed misconceptions about swan’s behavior and movement. Marie-Agnès Gillot, a dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet told the NY Times that she also realized a classic arm gesture for flapping wings in “Swan Lake” is backward; and that it should be done by pumping arms from back to front. It has also given dancers an opportunity to encompass swan-like movement and beahavior, including a beating of the arms and a twitching of their feet.
Dominique Hervieu, who first invited Mr. Petton’s company to perform at the Chaillot theater was amazed “…at times you would see a swan behind a dancer, just the neck sticking out, as though they were fused,” she said. “These images take us into the realm of surrealism, hybridization, something nearly medieval,” Hervieu related to the NY Times.
Although only limited European performances, Petton has stated that he plans on expanding his market to the United States using locally bred swans.
What do you think about using swans for this performance? Wonderful or Whacked?
– Janet McCulley