Top 10 “Swan Lake in pop culture” moments

21 January 2015 | By Rose

With Graeme Murphy’s masterful reworking of Swan Lake opening next month, our minds turned to the many manifestations of this iconic ballet in popular culture. We think Tchaikovsky and Petipa would be kind of thrilled to know that their ballet is still so well known that it’s used as a kind of a shorthand for the art form. Here are some of our favourite “Swan Lake in pop culture” moments. 

10. Swan Lake, made in Japan. World Masterpiece Fairytale Swan Lake is a 1981 film by Toei Animation, complete with comedy squirrels.

9. Icelandic musician and artist Björk wears a Marjan Pejoski swan gown to the 2001 Oscars and steals all the scenes.

Image via devids.net

8. Swan Lake on Ice! Those 32 fouettés have got to be easier on skates, right?

7. Natalie Portman embodies the fragility of the White Swan and the menace of the Black Swan in one fractured mind …

6. A truly jaw-dropping rendition by the Guangzhou Acrobatics Troupe. Don’t stop watching before the 3:20 mark!

5. Smith’s Lites meets cygnets. “The daintiest way to stuff your face”.

4. Taylor Swift shakes off the haters.

3. Long before Taylor Swift was shaking it off, Barbara Streisand was shaking a tail feather in this cheeky parody from Funny Girl.

2. Spoiler alert! The final, heart-surging scene of Billy Elliot, featuring Matthew Bourne’s all-male Swan Lake. GO BILLY!

1. Rudolf Nureyev and Miss Piggy in Swine Lake. Quite a miracle of partnering! The dancer inside the pig suit is Graham Fletcher, a soloist with The Royal Ballet at the time. Bravo!

See the ultimate reimagining of this classic of classics when Graeme Murphy’s Swan Lake opens in this Sydney this summer. February 20 – 28 at the Capitol Theatre. Buy tickets