Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)

First Supervisor

Maggi Phillips


The proliferation of contemporary interpretations of classic works throughout the history of dance is substantial, yet there is little scholarly acknowledgement of contemporary interpretations as a genre unto themselves. Unlike other art forms, there is a lack of academic research into contemporary interpretations within dance and their place in dance history. This thesis delves into the genre of contemporary interpretations of classic choreographies, uncovering their popular appeal, the various approaches, their role and contribution to dance history. The second part is a comparative Swan Lake case study, examining the works of Mats Ek, Matthew Bourne and Garry Stewart in reference to the Petipa/Ivanov version of Swan Lake (1895). The Swan Lake canon, perhaps the epitome of classical ballet, seems irresistible to choreographers. This classic ballet becomes the metaphoric mother Swan, while the myriad of contemporary interpretations are her gaggle of cygnets. Each cygnet is distinctively unique yet shaped by the same source. One work may reverently celebrate the Swan while another chooses to question their upbringing, preferring that a pastiche or a cheeky parody of the Swan suits them best. However regardless of the contemporary interpretation it is ultimately the voice of the classic work that will always prevail as the central figure of discourse and debate. Consequently the classics and their reinterpretations constructs a substantial and palpable history which confirms that dance can no longer be seen as the immutable transient art form with which it is often labelled.

Included in

Dance Commons