Thursday, February 24th, 2011

The Black Swan on The Ed Sullivan Show

This weekend, The  83rd Academy Awards will be held in Hollywood and one of the favorites to take home multiple Oscars is the psychological thriller Black Swan directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman .  Black Swan is nominated for 5 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.  The plot of Black Swan is set around a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and two ballerinas (Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis) competition for the main role of the Black and White Swan.

Swan Lake was originally composed by Tchaikovsky in 1876 based off of Russian folk tales.  It tells the love story of a prince named Siegfried and a princess named Odette who has been turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer.  In 1877, Swan Lake premiered for the first time at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.  Nearly a century later the production came to The Ed Sullivan Show.

Ed Sullivan was a big supporter of ballet and had numerous dance companies come perform on his show.  The production of Swan Lake actually took to The Ed Sullivan Show stage 3 times.  One of the more popular Ed Sullivan Show recitals of Swan Lake was performed by Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev on May 16, 1965.  The pair performed a 12 minute routine that truly showcased their individual talents and the beauty of ballet.  The audience, many who probably came to see British pop star Petula Clark perform that evening, were absolutely blown away by the flawless performance and gave the pair a standing ovation.

Here is a clip of that moving Swan Lake routine:

The movie Black Swan has done a great job to bring attention and appreciation to Swan Lake and the art of ballet.  If you are fan of ballet and would like to see more of the legends that appeared on Ed Sullivan check out this ballet DVD.