This unit explains the synopsis of Swan Lake, one of the most beloved works in the ballet repertoire, and introduces themes from the story which will influence the children's set designs.

The Story of Swan Lake

Read the children the story of Swan Lake (below). As you meet the four main characters, play the motif for each of them. Ask the children to listen carefully and to see if they might be able to think of some adjectives to describe the four characters, from what they hear in the music. For example:

Odette (White Swan): gentle, fragile, sad, unhappy, hopeful, delicate, innocent.

Odile (Black Swan): cunning, sneaky, crafty, untruthful, strong, calculating.

Ask them to choose one of the characters and think about the colours, shapes and materials that they might use the represent them visually. This could be in a collage that could be annotated, using fabrics, coloured paper, pencils, pens, paints etc. Remind them that this should be abstract; they shouldn’t draw a picture of the character.