Swan Lake with Indian Dance

The Swan Lake is set up every year, by several institutions and most often in ballet, since it is a ballet composed by PjotrTsjajkovskij. We wanted to present Swan Lake with Indian dance. The purpose is to spread more knowledge about Indian classical and traditional dance by using both the story and music that the audience is accustomed to and know well.

30 years of knowledge in Indian dance education I have been surveyed that the audience most often know that in Indian dance, hand gestures and facial expressions are used to explain a story, but it is usually difficult for people to choose to go to an entire Indian dance performance for there, everything becomes unknown; the story, the dance moves and the music. That is why we wanted to do something different for the Norwegian audience.

We kept parts of the original story and replaced some of the roles as well as the relationships. In our play, The Price has an evil stepmother instead of an evil wizard. The woman the mother chooses for the Price, comes with money and power which is the motivation of the stepmother to marry the prince to her.Over the years there have been various interpretations and changes for the end, where true love takes the brunt of evil and they live happily ever after. We have chosen to make our own ending and have sett the whole story in flashback.

Instead of Black Swan, we choose to use snake for it is more reminiscent of mysterious and vicious, and the music is also associated with Indian animals.

Of course, one of the biggest changes are the dance forms. We replaced the ballet with Bharatanatyam, as the prince’s form of expression, and kathak became the expression of the swans. There some Contemporary dance moves, snake dance and folk dances from India. Bharatanatyam (from south India) and Kathak (from north India) are two different classical dance forms with very different rhythms, costumes, character and emotions that is why we wanted to show the beautiful union and mic of the dance forms. The party on the Price’s birthday as our play began, we choose to have bhangra and other party music to kick of the mood of the whole play.

Because Indian dance expression is still quite foreign to the Norwegian audience, it will be a narrator. It will also made it easier to understand for those who are unfamiliar with the piece.

The feedback from the audience in Germany and the Netherlands is fantastic, and the play has received a lot of praise for retaining some of the original music, and the characters have received their dance expressions typical of their personality traits in the original play. The Mayor of Lørenskog District (Norway) was totally blown away with it and her feedback was that we had found an explant way to merge both cultures and presented it in such a way that everyone could enjoy the play. She knew the music from before and she could follow the story.


All in all, it is a very interesting play and we are looking forward to stage it again very soon.