Derek Deane & The Shanghai Ballet’s Swan Lake

If there is one ballet that stands above the rest, it is Swan Lake. Visions of white tutus mirroring the graceful and elegant nature of swans as they glide across the stage has become synonymous with ballet performance, and The Shanghai Ballet – under the direction of Derek Deane – have undertaken this iconic work on their worldwide tour showcasing some of the best of China’s performers to the world.


Performing at the Regent Theatre for a strictly limited season until April 24, The Shanghai Ballet’s Swan Lake is a masterpiece of technique and incredible precision.

The performance on April 21 was led by First Principle Dancer of the Shanghai Ballet, Wu Husheng as Siegfried and Guest Dancer Ako Kondo. Both heavily awarded dancers throughout China and around the world, these performers get many moments to display why they deserve their principle status executing a series of flawless and stunning pas de deux which had the audience in disbelief of the skill they are witnessing.

The highlight of the night came in Act III during the Great Hall of the Castle where both performers received the opportunity to show off their seemingly endless pirouettes with such skill that the audience couldn’t wait until the conclusion of their number to burst into rapturous applause.

The hallmark of Derek Deane’s interpretation of Swan Lake is the enormous cast of swans which he employees for Act II and IV. Filling the stage with the overwhelming company, the pressure is on for the dancers to appear in synchronization with their fellow performers – something they achieve with incredible success.

There are moments throughout the delicate dances of the swans where all the performers appear to be moving as one in such perfect time with each other that they appear to be duplications of one performer. Combining this precision with their uncanny fluidity and graceful movement across the stage, it is hard to believe that the performers haven’t transformed into the animals they are impersonating as the weave throughout the lead performers on stage. And it is this level of skill which truly displays the attention to detail The Shanghai Ballet has put into this production turning it from an iconic ballet into a spectacle performance.

For any lovers of ballet, Derek Deane’s production of Swan Lake is a must see. His artistic vision for this masterpiece combined with the incredible performance of principle dancers and the company of The Shanghai Ballet creates an artistic opportunity not to be missed in the few performances left before the company leaves Melbourne.

Derek Deane and The Shanghai Ballet’s production of Swan Lake is playing at the Regent Theatre until April 24. For more information and to book tickets, visit