I was given a lot of freedom to create a look for Swan Lake, performed by Richmond Ballet in February 2013. I collaborated with Sarah Ferguson, the company photographer, who captured some gorgeous images of company dancer and Ms. Swan Lake herself, Shira Lanyi. We really wanted to convey the intensity of the love story in order to entice people who would otherwise turn their noses up. Ballet is more than just tutus.
For those of you who don't know the story of Swan Lake, I'll sum it up:
1. Odette is a swan because of an evil spell, thanks to von Rothbart, which can only be broken by true love.
2. Prince Siegfried, pressured to get married soon, starts to fall for her.
3. "Odette" shows up at a party at the castle, and he is about to swear his eternal love to her...
4. But "Odette" is really Odile, von Rothbart's evil daughter.
5. A fight follows where von Rothbart tries to get Prince Siegfried to keep his word and marry Odile, but the prince's love for Odette is so strong that he wins, the spell is broken...AND THEY LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Of course the movie Black Swan inspired me just a little (how could it not?) but I didn't want the image to be too creepy. I think the gist of the ballet is Odette vs. Odile, and I loved that whole Jekyll and Hyde idea. I also wanted to create movement in the image to convey flapping wings, fluttering hearts, and the beautiful fouettés of a ballerina.