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SUBJECTS — Dance (Performance); ELA: metaphor, symbol;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Romantic Relations;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Caring.
Age: 10+; No MPAA Rating; Drama; 2005; 113 minutes; Color.
Swan Lake is a beautiful and popular Romantic ballet which explores the archetypical metaphor identifying female grace with the movement of swans. The ballet is set to an enchanting score by Tchaikovsky and presents some of the most expressive and appealing movements ever seen on stage.
This Learning Guide will show how to: (1) introduce ballet to young audiences; (2) use the movie to provide an example of the Romantic movement in an art form other than literature, music, or visual arts; (3) discuss some themes of the Romantic movement; (4) provide an example of the use of metaphor and symbol in a work of art; and (5) provide an SEL lesson about romantic relations. Knowledge of this ballet and of its place in the tradition of Romantic ballet will enhance the understanding of history and of art.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Swan Lake provides teachers with the background and discussion questions to highlight the themes of the ballet.
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Swan Lake can serve as an introduction to Romantic ballet. The dancing and the music of the American Ballet Theater ("ABT" version with Gillian Murphy and Angel Corella are transcendant.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to Swan Lake.
Next, discuss [with the class] the difference between symbol and metaphor. Here is a good explanation: "A symbol works two ways: It is something itself, and it also suggests something deeper. [. . .] Metaphors are comparisons between two seemingly dissimilar things; symbols associate two things, but their meaning is both literal and figurative." Elements of Poetry: Definition of Symbol from Bedford St. Martin's publishers. The metaphor might read "John's life was a flower that had suddenly burst into bloom, colorful and vibrant in the sun." In the story or poem, the flower might also serve as a symbol for John's life. Flowers are generally colorful and vibrant. Therefore, this symbol works on both levels: the flower symbolizes John's life, beautiful and vibrant, and the attributes of the flower are suggestive of what John's life is like. This symbol would work best if later in the story or the poem we see that John's happiness is fragile, like a flower. A new metaphor now suggests itself: "John's life was a delicate flower, its beauty easily destroyed".
The Learning Guide to the film Swan Lake contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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