The Black Swan (Pas de deux)

Marius Petipa

The Grand Pas de Deux from the third act of Swan Lake – widely known as the ‘Black Swan’ Pas de Deux – is an iconic moment from a ballet that has come to define the art form. The duet is remarkable for its powerfully dramatic choreography and music, which, unusually, uses the five-part structure and virtuoso display typical of a grand pas de deux to progress the plot of the ballet.


Prince Siegfried has fallen for Odette, the victim of an evil spirit who has been condemned to live as a swan unless someone who has never loved before swears to love her forever. During a ball at the palace, Von Rothbart – the evil spirit in human form – arrives with his daughter Odile, who by magic resembles Odette. Not realizing that he is being deceived, the Prince falls under her spell.