Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the Russian National Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake. I had never attended a full ballet before so only the music and the white swan costumes were familiar and expected.

I enjoyed it immensely but would like to just share what I saw as a theatre design student (currently focused on costume). I payed the most attention to how the characters were obviously identified as groups by colors and patterns. In the second act, for example, when the princesses are dancing with their visiting court members, each of the four groups had a separate color palette. The princesses had similar costumes but were distinguished by their bodice designs and Juliet sleeve variations. As for Odette, all she had that distinguished her as the Swan Queen was her tiara and what looked like beading on her bodice. Simple, but effective.

I do have to make a point to mention the costume for Rothbart. What I liked about it was that it was dark, detailed, and it had a cape which really lent itself to how ‘shadowy’ his movements were.

All in all, I thought the performance was great and the costumes were lovely. I liked being able to see the richness of the fabrics and the different colored layers of the tutus enhance the dancers’ movements. I look forward to attending more ballets in the future.