A day in the life of a Swan Queen

Laurretta Summerscales joined the Bayerisches Staatsballett with the beginning of the 2017/18 season as principal dancer. During her career, she already danced several versions of Swan Lake, on 11 September 2020, she now debuts in Munich in Ray Barra’s version of the ballet classic. Join her during a day of rehearsals for the double role of Odette/Odile:

About Swan Lake

Swan Lake is very special to me as it was the very first principal full length role that I ever performed. But this ist he first time I’m doing Ray Barra’s version. It’s similar in choreography to other versions I’ve done, so I feel comfortable with the feeling of the ballet which hopefully helps to enjoy performing it.

My favourite moment in the ballet

I love a lot of moments in the ballet, for example the white swan adagio in Act 2 when Odette gives herself completely to Siegfried or the black swan pas de deux with Rotbart involved, which gives an extra degree of acting and storytelling in. But I think my most favourite moment is probably Act 4. Odette feels betrayed and hurt, she has to protect her swans but she also loves Siegfried. It’s a lot deeper, there are a lot more layers and I think sometimes, when you’re really, really hurt, you don’t even have tears to cry – it’s that deep. So for me Act 4, with the music, it’s just perfect.

Preparing for the role

Mentally, I don’t prepare that much anymore, as I have performed the ballet quite a lot but I still look at videos of other people – whether I like it or not – I think it’s really good to see how people can be a swan. Everyone is very different, some are fragile, some people are really animalistic, so I think it’s really good to look at and be inspired by other dancers. Physically, I know black swan is really hard for stamina, so I literally have to repeat it again and again in rehearsal instead of additionally going to the gym for example, as this is a completey different way of training the muscles.

Changes caused by Corona

It is different, I feel in general I am not as warm as a person. The mask hides your facial expressions, so I feel I’m more reserved, I am not as energetic or extroverted as before, even though we can touch each other in rehearsals. As there was such a different atmosphere during the live streamings, I was really nervous that I wouldn’t feel confident on stage anymore, but when I had my run-through on stage it was wonderful. Also even though you’re not close to the swans: the fact that they’re there, they still give off that essence. You feel like you’re part of a group again, you feel like you’re part of a team, you got a family with you and you’re really telling a story.


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