SPB: Swan Lake

When I was a little girl, I remember watching Barbie’s ‘Swan Lake’ and loving the entire story. I never really thought about the originality of it though, and as I grew older, forgot about it. Thankfully, being in Russia has given me the opportunity to re-live the story of Swan Lake, by being able to go to its ballet at the Mikhailovsky Theater in Saint Petersburg. Before the ballet, my friends and I went to dinner at a nicer Russian restaurant downtown. I’ve been meaning to explore more authentic Russian food, instead of getting a hamburger every place I eat at (I can’t help myself 🇺🇸). I decided to just get an appetizer of quail aspic and pate, which is basically meat gelatin and paste layered together. Sounded fancy, tasted absolutely disgusting. If you know me, you know that I’ll eat anything and everything! And I think it’s fun to try new foods… but wow. Not my favorite thing. I still finished it though because I paid 560₽.


After my friends got to enjoy their deconstructed beef stroganoff and fancy wine while I choked on my meat paste, we left for the theater. After 15 minutes of walking, we realized we went to the wrong theater.. half an hour away from the Mikhailovsky one. And the show started in 10 minutes. That’s when the panic set in. I felt my 10-year-old self begin to tear up at the thought of missing seeing Swan Lake in person. Thankfully, we made friends with a very nice local woman who helped us flag down a marshrutka, and make it to the theater only about 20 minutes late. We were still fearful that we wouldn’t be allowed in until intermission, but they thankfully snuck us in during a pause in the ballet.

As soon as I settled in, I was blown away by what I was watching. The ballerinas are very precise and able to move in ways I probably never will. It was very beautiful because it told a story without saying a single word. My friends and I all talked later about the goosebumps we got while watching. What made it even more surreal is knowing that it’s such a famous ballet, yet it was created by the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. It just felt very amazing to see a part of Russian history being performed in its place of birth. Some of my friends have already gone back this weekend to see the other ballet Giselle; I’m highly considering going back when I have my next free weekend!

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