Ballets give exquisite pleasures to witness at the theater. To me, it appeared that the dual roles of the ballerina depicted the dual roles of common people from every walk of life. Hence the term ‘two-faced’. The eternal battle between the good and the evil. None of us are good in our entirety, and none of us are evil either. Everyone has their own demons and evil intentions. It is only through struggle and overpowering that one side claims victory over the other. We suppress the evil side to confirm to a higher social order. Maybe this aspect was not part of the greater plan. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, the original composer of the Swan Lake, might not have put the duality of the human psychology represented through the dancing of ballerinas on purpose.
The beauty of the play is that when one ballerina plays both roles it makes the message even more powerful. Odette is trying to set herself free by seeking faithfulness of her lover, while Odile wanting to seduce the lover to make the enchantment permanent.
The duality of human nature should not be taken to the extremes of good and evil only. We experience cognitive dissonance frequently in our daily lives. Even more common is the inner child in all of us that wants to trample rules and norms. This side wants to be free, to be rebellious. It wants to do whatever it wants, driven by lust, gluttony and greed. But the mature side of the human tries to hold it back. It tries to suppress it to prevent it from becoming too irrational. The Yin and Yang, the negative and positive, the good and evil, and in that performance, Odette and Odile.
As suggested earlier that dance is one of the purest form of human expression. As a Swan Odette was delicate, fragile and innocent. Her posture, her hand movements were so light that she was barely touching the stage. Her ‘floating’ represented the lightness of the soul of a person. Odette presented to me the delicate