There Are So Many Swan Lakes Coming To London This Summer

Image by Anatoliy Garanin via Creative Commons.

You wait months for a staging of Swan Lake and then five major productions come along at once…

2024 looks set to be the Year of the Swan on the London stage, with a surprising cluster of productions for the traditionally quite-Christmassy ballet landing during the spring and summer — in fact, there are five major productions coming to the city in the next five months alone, with a pretty varied range of tastes catered for.

The toddler-friendly one

My First Ballet: Swan Lake, Peacock Theatre

My First Ballet: Swan Lake © Illustration by Mark Ruffle

English National Ballet and English National Ballet School are joining forces again with the next installment of their My First Ballet series — this time with a new, toddler-friendly take on Swan Lake. Aiming to dial up the accessibility and enchantment for younger audiences, this new production at Peacock Theatre has been adapted for children aged 3 and older, and uses a shortened version of Tchaikovsky’s score.

My First Ballet: Swan Lake runs from 4-13 April 2024 at the Peacock Theatre, tickets from £33.

The one in a classically grand setting

Swan Lake by Liam Scarlett, Royal Opera House

Swan Lake ©2022 ROH. Photographed by Tristram Kenton

The Royal Ballet’s production looks set to deliver a classically grand take on Swan Lake to match its setting, choreographed by Liam Scarlett and designed by John Macfarlane. If you can’t get to London for this — or can’t get hold of tickets, which are selling fast — there’s also the chance to stream the Royal Opera House’s 2018 production of Swan Lake.

Swan Lake by Liam Scarlett runs until 28 June 2024 at the Royal Opera House, tickets from £35.

The epically 360° one

Swan Lake in-the-round, Royal Albert Hall

120 dancers, an 80-piece orchestra and an historic venue transformed into a sparkling, in-the-round frozen lake: the Royal Albert Hall doesn’t do things by halves, and its production of Swan Lake this summer is no exception. With the usual beautiful acoustics and gorgeous setting, the venue design means there’s not really a bad view in the theatre.

Swan Lake in-the-round runs from 12-23 June 2024 at the Royal Albert Hall, tickets from £47.

The ultra-acrobatic one

The Acrobatic Swan Lake, Sadler’s Wells

Ever watched a classical production of Swan Lake and thought ‘sure, but couldn’t there be even more astonishing feats of athleticism’? Then this one’s for you.

A fusion of traditional western ballet and Chinese acrobatic arts — and, great description, ‘the only “ballet-on-shoulders” version of Swan Lake in its 147 year-old history’ — Xi’an Acrobatic Troupe returns to London briefly after a world tour. If we had to choose just one on this list to go to, this is our pick.

The Acrobatic Swan Lake runs from 21-29 June 2024 at Sadler’s Wells, tickets from £18.

The one by a ballet company you’d rarely have a chance to see in the UK

Swan Lake by the State Ballet of Georgia, London Coliseum

Under the artistic direction of Nina Ananiashvili — former prima ballerina with the Bolshoi Ballet and American Ballet Theatre — the State Ballet of Georgia has developed a fearsome reputation for gorgeous, technically dazzling, lavishly staged productions… that very rarely tour to the UK. The last time they were performing here was in Edinburgh in 2008; this show will be, as far as we know, their first time performing in London in the 175-year history of the company.

Swan Lake by the State Ballet of Georgia runs from 28 August-8 September 2024 at London Coliseum, tickets from £35.

And… coming this winter

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Sadler’s Wells

It might feel ridiculous to be thinking about next winter’s plans now, when it feels, at time of writing, like this winter’s still very much here. But any Matthew Bourne ballet’s likely to book up fast, and this one more than most: the return of his production of Swan Lake for its 30th anniversary tour. This is the production that kicked a lot of Swan Lake — and classical ballet — tropes to the curb in favour of an all-male corps de ballet, and lacing both a dialled-up level of menace and a tender, homoerotic charge through the choreography and storytelling.

Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake runs from 3 December 2024 – 26 January 2025 at Sadler’s Wells, tickets from £15.

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