The Korea Herald


Classic ballet ‘Swan Lake’ signals arrival of spring

Korean National Ballet, Universal Ballet embark on nationwide tours with different versions of 'Swan Lake'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : March 4, 2024 - 16:04

    • Link copied

The Korean National Ballet's The Korean National Ballet's "Swan Lake" (Korean National Ballet)
The Korean National Ballet's The Korean National Ballet's "Swan Lake" (Korean National Ballet)

The classic ballet “Swan Lake” is set to grace stages across the country this month, as South Korea’s two major ballet companies -- the Korean National Ballet and Universal Ballet -- embark on nationwide tours, presenting two different versions of the popular ballet piece.

The ballet, set to Tchaikovsky’s music, tells the story of Odette, a beautiful young princess cursed by the evil sorcerer Rothbart, who condemns her to transform into a swan during the day. She encounters a young Prince Siegfried and the two fall in love with each other.

The performance showcases the graceful swan Odette and the alluring black swan Odile, who are both portrayed by a single ballerina.

Marking its 10th season since its premiere in 2001, the Korean National Ballet will open the 2024 season with its "Swan Lake," featuring Yury Grigorovich's choreography.

Universal Ballet’s production is based on choreography by Marius Petipa. The production incorporates black swans into the second act's lake scene at night, creating a striking contrast between the white and black swans.

The endings of the two productions also differ, with the Korean National Ballet's version concluding with a happy ending where the prince defeats the sorcerer, while the Universal Ballet's performance follows the original tragic ending.

Universal Ballet's Universal Ballet's "Swan Lake" (Universal Ballet)
Universal Ballet's Universal Ballet's "Swan Lake" (Universal Ballet)

The Korean National Ballet will perform March 15-16 at the Busan Citizen’s Hall in Busan; March 20-21 at the Gumi Culture and Arts Center in Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province; and March 27-31 at the LG Arts Center in Seoul.

Universal Ballet has already performed "Swan Lake" on March 1-2 at the Yongin Poeun Art Hall, Gyeonggi Province. The company is scheduled to perform March 8-9 at the Gimcheon Culture and Art Center, North Gyeongsang Province; March 15-16 at the Gyeongnam Culture and Art Center, in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province; March 23-24 at the Goyang Aram Nuri Arts Center in Gyeonggi Province; and March 29-30 at the Gangdong Arts Center in Seoul.