The Swansong was choreographed by a man called Christopher Bruce in 1987 and was performed by 3 male dancers. Swansong may come across as violent because of the way the many different dance styles are carried out. There are many different types of dances used the main ones being: ballet, tap, ball room and jazz. The story is about a prisoner being bullied and intimidated by the two prison guards and eventually the prisoner dies as a result of the bullying.
It is called swansong because the movements the prisoner uses are bird like movements and the fact that he is isolated and trapped like a swan. There are not many costumes or props but the t-shirts that they wore were to signal who they were, and the main prop was a chair. It was used in all sorts of ways, as a shield, a weapon and also a questioning chair. The music and electrical effects are vital because the music shows the mood and the lighting shows the sort of movement and setting.
Section 1 The tap dance is the main dance used in section 1 because it is used as a question and answer sequence. The section begins in silence then the interrogators enter and begin to dance. By the end of the dance it turns out being a duet versus a solo. The speed changes throughout the sequence and lifts, balances and twist are applied. Also different levels are used as the interrogators begin to play silly mind games.
Section 2 In section 2 the violence begins and there is a change in the music and the props are changed and used to more effect on behalf of both the interrogators and the prisoner. But something that was consistent throughout was that the interrogators continually questioned the victim by returning back to tap. Section 3 In section 3 there is the first solo of the piece and there is lots of emotion delivered in the solo because the victim begins to show how upset and abused he is feeling inside. The lighting is shown as a symbol of freedom shining into the prison sell and the prisoner uses a lot of bird like gestures.
Section 4 In section 4 the interrogators force the victim into dancing in a trio with them. But it is a trick as the guards are always in control and a dark atmosphere is created by the music and the interrogators actions. In this section the chair once again is used to create a different sort of effect. Section 5 In section 5 the second solo is performed. It is done in silence to create a strange sort of atmosphere. Also the prisoner uses the chair in many different ways: as a safe heaven, prison bars, boredom, hope and a few other ways. The dance is performed in silence because it means that there isn’t any music to do the movements and the movements are very much like bird movements
Section 6 The bullying gets to its most serious because different weapons are brought in to the dance and huge crashing sound effects are used for the creation of the atmosphere. Repetitions of movements are used frequently and so are facial expressions. Eventually the victim is murdered and his spirit is set free and the lighting helps create the atmosphere. Section 7 This is were the last solo takes place but it is exactly the same as the first solo, only this time with much more flowing movement as a symbol of freedom. It is showing that although he has died his spirit has been set free.