A birthday-anniversary weekend in September last year also turned out to be a musical weekend – an evening of classical music and another of classical ballet. The Royal Russian Ballet had flown in with their swans for a treat for Delhi audience.

For me, this was a maiden experience of watching a ballet live – I vaguely remember DD National in their monopoly days used to telecast some performances.

Swan Lake is a traditional classical ballet written in 19th century by a Russian composer Tchaikovsky, I was not unfamiliar with storyline having watched The Black Swan portrayed by Natalie Portman few years back, which also had some original scores and sequences in the film.

Classical ballet is an acquired experience, and the first one overwhelms you. With the first bars swans flitted and floated across the stage, costumes elegant and gorgeous, music conveying the emotions and story-line. Though their faces were completely emotion-less, they mesmerised the Delhi audiences with their dancing. The court jester and the villain were great performers and it was a delight to watch them. The lead performer portraying both the White Swan or Swan Princess and Black Swan was exquisitely beautiful with expressions fleeting from joy to sadness to despair in the course of four acts.

This is a tough profession, fleetingly short for most of the dancers and cut-throat. The regime difficult and artists can afford no respite in the daily schedule of intense practice to stay healthy and fit. And an unfortunate accident can completely finish the career. And this knowledge humbles the audience when watching any ballet performed live.

It was an enjoyable afternoon in the company of family and close friends, a truly unique experience for India and Delhi made the most of it. What really could have made this performance even more beautiful would have been a presence of a live orchestra!

Note: Swan Lake was brought to Delhi by Navrasa Duende and Royal Russian Ballet in September 2017. This year again they visit Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Ahmedabad between March-April. Don’t miss the chance.

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