Swan Lake, Idaho!
21 September 2009
Swan Lake, Idaho! Who would have thunk it? Since I saw my first Swan Lake, oh, about 45 years ago, I have always found the scene with the Hunters, the beginning of Act II, to be unfinished. They appear in nearly every production of Swan Lake all over the world, but who are they? Are they just the Prince's friends or are they out hunting swans all the time? Are they freelancing or do they belong to a Rod and Gun Club? Finally, I arrived in Idaho and saw a golden opportunity to make sense of these characters. In most productions they just bumble in and out, puzzled and frightened by the beautiful swan maidens, shut down by the Prince from killing them (because he has fallen in love with the Swan Queen, and you don't want to hurt her feelings, do you?) So for Ballet Idaho I see a chance to validate the hunters by making them modern day camo-warriors. I salute the 21st century Idaho Hunter and unite him with the 19th century romantic Swans of Swan Lake. What a match! And in our production, they stand out not only for their bravery, but for their emotions. You see, in this version, the hunters ALL fall in love with Swans (why should the Prince have all the fun?) and, in fact, in a kind of reverse Stockholm Syndrome arrangement, the Hunters begin to take on characteristics of their former prey. They become swans! It's Eco-Friendly!