A review of Parviz Sayyad's Swan Lake


Ari Siletz
by Ari Siletz

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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Ari Siletz

Glad everyone had fun

by Ari Siletz on

Despite the shortcomings in Sayyad's ballet technique, this was truly a golden age for the performing arts in Iran.


How it transitions to Iranian

by Abarmard on

It's great. It's one of my favorite comedy pieces.

Happy Friday.


Red Wine


by Red Wine on

Is nice but not masterpiece .

Thank you Ari jan .

Mash Ghasem

Tis a 'masterpiece' of synthesizing Western and Iranian culture!

by Mash Ghasem on

This brings back so much memory, it's just beyond words. Thanks Ari for the reminder and the 'review.' Cheers

Parviz Sayad is a gem.

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

Ari khan.

zeeba bood.



A Masterpiece

by Mahvash Shahegh on


This is a masterpiece. It is so witty and delicate. Thanks, Ari, to bring it out to attention again. Watching it is always enjoyable.


This is Great!

by Faramarz on

Thanks Ari.

In the last minute Parviz Sayyad dances exactly like Khordadian!

Mary Apic is so talented. I believe that she started out as a ballerina and then got into acting.

Darius Kadivar


by Darius Kadivar on

I just Love this performance by Sayyad and Mary Apick !


Hilarious ! 


But for such great actors 'comedy' was not their only strong suit :


THE MISSION: Houshang Touzie is an IRI assassin in Parviz Sayyad's "Ferestadeh" 


Great and insightful blog as usual Ari Jan ! 


I enjoy your contributions greatly !