Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem “The Dying Swan” inspired Michel Fokine to choreograph the ballet of the same name in 1904. Solo number was first performed the following year in St. Petersburg ballerina Anna Pavlova of. Pavlova dedicated her life to dance and became an icon of the ballet.

Now, the National Ballet dancer and choreographer Daniel Proietto created a new version of Fokine Swan’s death, with clear references to the original Fokine choreography.

On stage, Daniel Proietto with a little boy who sings Tennyson’s poem “The Dying Swan”. The child may be interpreted as a representation of life, in contrast to the dying swan. This brings choreographer an element of innocence, a child’s first encounter with death and the first realization that life one day at an end. This is something most of us can recognize themselves in.

Proietto wanted to create an experience of coming into the past – like an old movie being played back. The production used video projections, where references to the original film of Anna Pavlova combined with new elements. In collaboration with the costume designer Stine Sjøgren Proietto has chosen to make the costumes as close to the original as possible.

The choice of music is also helping to support the idea of ​​giving the audience a cinematic experience. Proietto invited the Polish composer Olga Wojciechowska to compose new music to work.

Cygne is a beautiful and strong ballet, expressive, tender and sad. Swan is one of the most widely used symbols of purity, beauty, love and freedom. A dying swan represents maturity – beginning of the end, and therefore the absence of just purity, beauty, love and freedom.

Excerpt from 3D movie “Cathedrals of Culture” where Cygne appears



Proietto as choreographer brings nordic angst and a jagged quality to Cygne, the expressive Camilla Spidsøe kitted out as Pavlova’s swan. With Olga Wojciechowska’s moody new score and Yaniv Cohen’s grainy video designs, it is a modern view of a now hackneyed solo and totally successful  : Financial Times