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“Swan Lake”: 2024 Winter Formal Theme

“Swan Lake” is a captivating story and one of the most well-known ballets of all time.

Get ready for a magical night in the world of “Swan Lake” for this year’s winter formal on February 24th, 2024 from 7-10PM. Being one of the most famous classical ballets in performance history, it will be exciting to see how Yorba Linda High School will emulate the atmosphere of the tragic, romantic, elegant, and fantasy-filled story seen on stage on the night of the dance. 

With music written by Tchaikovsky in 1875, “Swan Lake” is a ballet based on Russian folklore. It is a tragic love story about a prince, Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with a swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer named Von Rothbart, Odette is cursed to spend her days as a swan and is only in her human form at night. 

In Act I, Prince Siegfried turns 21 and is faced with the responsibility of choosing a wife. Overwhelmed, he goes into the woods.

Then in Act 2, Prince Siegfried finds a lake with beautiful swans floating. One specific swan with a crown on its head, Odette, catches his eye. When dusk falls, Prince Siegfried witnesses the swan transform into the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. Odette tells him about the spell Von Rothbart had placed on her and the other girls who have become swans. The only way to break the spell is if a man confesses his love to Odette and the love is genuine. As the prince is about to confess his love, the sorcerer shows up and takes Odette away. 

The ballet continues to Act 3, where there is a ball to help Prince Siegfried choose a wife from the potential prospects, but he cannot stop thinking about Odette. Von Rothbart then shows up at the dance with his daughter Odile. Von Rothbart casts a spell to make Odile appear identical to Odette to trick the prince into proposing to Odile, which he does. Odette watches all this unfold from outside the window and runs away at the site of the prince proposing to Odile. Through the window, the prince sees Odette running away and realizes he has been tricked. Odile’s true appearance is then unveiled before Prince Siegfried leaves to chase after Odette.

The ballet ends with Act 4. The prince finds Odette at the lake and explains what had happened with Odile. Von Rothbart and Odile show up, which leads to a fight between the prince and the sorcerer. Prince Siegfried then takes Odette’s hand and jumps into the lake. This causes the spell to be broken and all of the swans in the lake turn back into their human form. 

“Swan Lake” first premiered on March 4, 1877 at Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre but was unsuccessful during the first year of performances ( The music was criticized as complicated and did not fit with the choreography that was originally by Julius Reisinger. However, in 1895, Marius Petipa—one of ballet’s most talented dancers/choreographers—revised the choreography of “Swan Lake” with the help of Lev Ivanov into the popular ballet it is today ( Hanbin Wang (12), who has seen the ballet performed on stage before, expresses that “the ballet had a few very memorable dances and an interesting plot. I was surprised to hear that it would be our winter formal theme, but I am eager to see how they bring it to life.”

I was surprised to hear that it would be our winter formal theme, but I am eager to see how they bring it to life.

— Hanbin Wang (12)

To embody the theme of “Swan Lake” at winter formal, consider an outfit with dark colors; dark blues, grays, blue-grays, and black make up the color palette for the setting of “Swan Lake.” White would also be a good choice since it is representative of the swans. Also, since feathers have become increasingly trendier in dresses, this would be a good opportunity to hop onto the trend. Drawing inspiration from the costumes in the ballet, a strapless dress or one with beading would also fit well with the theme.

So now that you are familiar with the story of “Swan Lake” and hopefully have some outfit inspiration, make sure to attend winter formal on February 24th, 2024 from 7-10PM at Springfield Banquet Center for a night to remember. 

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About the Contributor
Jeanelle Wu, Editor-In-Chief
Jeanelle Wu is a senior at YLHS and is excited to serve as one of the editors-in-chief for The Wrangler this year. As she continues writing for The Wrangler, she is thrilled to be able to help other students find their writing voice, express herself through her writing, and put her leadership skills to the test. Jeanelle is a part of the YLHS business program, CSF, and chess club and is the President of YLFBLA. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano, singing her heart out, and spending time with her family and friends. Furthermore, Jeanelle values giving back to the community; specifically, she volunteers for storytime at the Yorba Linda Public Library and Kaiser Hospital. If she cannot be reached, she is likely on her way to explore a new country, seeking adventure, or listening to Taylor Swift on repeat. Jeanelle believes journalism is a creative expression for sharing her perspective and conveying information. Her passion for journalism and curiosity are looking forward to an excellent year for The Wrangler.

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