What 'War and Peace' is to the novel and 'Hamlet' is to the theater, Swan Lake' is to ballet - that is, the name which to many people stands for and sums up an art form.
A steady diet of the higher truths might prove exhausting, but it's important that we acknowledge their validity and celebrate their survival.
Without a Prospero-Caliban relationship to balance the Prospero-Ariel one, 'The Tempest' loses much of its resonance.
In traditional 'Swan Lakes,' it's Prince Siegfried's 21st-birthday celebration, his coming-of-age. The entire court, from his mother the Queen on down, is on hand.
The first time the Kirov ballet was seen in America was on Sept. 11, 1961. The ballet was 'Swan Lake.' The ballerina was Inna Zubkovskaya. The place was the old Met, on what must have been one of the hottest nights of the year, and there was no air-conditioning.
'Black Swan' does what Hollywood movies have always done - it spends its energies on getting some surface things right while getting everything important wrong. Darren Aronofsky, the director, applies the same techniques and the same sensibility here as he did with 'The Wrestler,' only with a prettier protagonist.