The Dying Swan is a variation that’s been performed more than any other dance on all of the world’s greatest stages. Created for ballet’s first super star Anna Pavlova by choreographer Michel Fokine, Pavlova first danced The Dying Swan in 1907 at a gala held in the Hall of Noblemen in St Petersburg in aid of a charity for poor mothers and newborn babies.

The Dying Swan and Anna Pavlova would become linked forever-during her career she danced the solo over four thousand times. But the version she first danced before the First World War was to change and mutate away from the original which would have been lost forever had it not been notated by a young Dame Ninette de Valois.

The film “Madam and The Dying Swan” tells the story of the four dancers who have danced the original steps of The Dying Swan. Starting with Anna Pavlova, the film documents the origins of the Dying Swan, the life of Dame Ninette de Valois as recalled by friends and colleagues to her eventual passing on of the early steps to prima ballerina Marguerite Porter.

The film uses restored and unseen footage of de Valois teaching the original steps and movements of The Dying Swan to Porter before coming up to date, twenty six years later, when Porter decides the time is right to pass the steps on to the next generation- the Royal Ballet’s up and coming star Marianela Núñez.

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