A review of Parviz Sayyad’s Swan Lake

In the above video, internationally acclaimed ballet dancer Parviz Sayyad performs the role of Prince Siegrfried in a scene from act II of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.  He gets a little help from Mary Apic as the beautiful Odette who has been transformed into a swan by the evil Wizard Von Rothbart. She turns human only at nights.  Apic actually studied ballet as opposed to the natural Sayyad who as an infant wore ballet tights instead of diapers and walked on his toes as a toddler.

Von Rothbart’s spell can only be broken by true love, which is why Apic’s desperate Odette would settle for marrying even a guy that acts like Samad. At 2:25 in the video the brilliant director (whoever it is) departs from the Swan Lake story in that Odette asks Prince Siegfried to play hide and seek with her in the forest. This is a dangerous game to play in the forest and many ballet dancers have disappeared in this fashion. Undeterred by such dire statistics, the brave Siegfried agrees.

At this point the unknown director’s (rumored to be Sayyad himself) genius takes another grand jete. The universally loved Swan Lake main theme begins by steps to pick up a Persian gher so as to more closely reflect Siegfriend’s inner Iranian “dangst” (a new hybrid word fromed from “dance” and “angst”). Slowly the “orchestra” changes from a D minor key to a mode than comes perilously close to Dastagh Esfehan if only the clever violinist didn’t keep avoiding the C# note. With Odette nowhere in sight, Siegfried dances his heart out in a baba karam hip wiggling style hitherto completely unknown to ballet choreography.

Unbeknownst to Seigfried, Odette has been watching him from behind a tree. She flies out towards him to teach him how ballet is done. In a dramatic lover’s quarrel, Odette–who has by now realized Siegfried uses his walking stick (crossbow in the real story) as a way to hold himself up during battements—chastizes Seigfried for reverting to his own culture. The scene ends tragically with Odette wishing she had never met Siegfried.

For a more traditional interpretation of this famous Swan Lake scene start this video at 6:08. Pay close attention between 7:15 and 7:25. Gillian Murphy as Odette is flabbergasting.

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