behind the scenes / swan lake with daniel neuhaus

Tomorrow, March 8, Swan Lake opens at the National Ballet. Daniel Neuhaus sent me this beautiful photo essay on the company’s production, from studio rehearsals to backstage to above stage (I shared some of his rehearsal shots from Giselle in December of 2012). These haven’t been seen yet so this is pretty exciting, and I am honoured to share them here. There are quite a lot of photos because it was hard to narrow down the selections!

I’ve got my tickets to see Swan Lake next week and I am pumped. My tickets $50 and they’re not bad: front row of ring 5 (of course, I really enjoyed this NYT piece on the benefits of the nosebleeds). I’ll include some information about how to see the ballet for less below the photos.

Enjoy! Thanks, Daniel.

All studio shots were taken in the rehearsal space in Queen’s Quay. All photos by Daniel Neuhaus. Click to view larger.

Rothbart by first soloist Etienne Lavigne with Odile/Odette in front played by 
Principal Xiao Nan Yu, with the corps fluttering around

Second soloist Tiffany Mosher perfecting her moves

Second soloist Alexandra MacDonald taking a break

First soloist Elena Lobsanova warming up

Apprentice Mimi Tompkins

Membres du Corps Kate Hosier, Krista Dowson and Elizabeth Marrable as swans

Alexandra MacDonald

 Tiffany Mosher


Senior Ballet Mistress Mandy-Jayne Richardson giving notes

Nan and Maddox McGee as Sigfried – they opened in the November performance of Swan Lake

Principal dancer Heather Ogden as Odette

Guillaume Côté (as Siegfried) and Heather Ogden on stage while swans look on

Principal dancer Heather Ogden

There are ways to attend a performance by the National Ballet for less; Ring 5 tickets are available for $25 for all performances. In my experience, these tend to go quickly, particularly for a popular show such as Swan Lake! Public rush tickets in designated locations are available at the Four Seasons Centre box office at 11am the day of the performance for $35 each. Standing room tickets are also available for $12, in person at the box office (again, starting at 11am on the day of the performance). If you are 16 to 29 years old, you can get $35 tickets by joining DanceBreak. You can also save money if you purchase a subscription, which is also a great way to support the Ballet in general.


  1. This is the best thing to gaze upon before going to sleep tonight. Thank you Anabela, so beautiful.

  2. beautiful photos! I wish that the National still did the original Swan Lake rather than Kudelka's version - I cannot connect with his choreography. I was able to see the the Kirov a few years ago and it was wonderful.

  3. absolutely fantastic photos. I LOVE ballet. so this is perfect.
    the one show I want to see is swan lake. its perfect
    Thanks for sharing this stunning post

  4. These are SO stunning. *_* Seeing this live is on my bucket list.

  5. These are just beautiful. They make me miss ballet classes so much!

  6. gah, so beautiful! ballerinas are so other worldly to me, as someone who can't even touch beyond my knees, ha!

  7. Breath taking! They portray the sense of beauty and grace but also the unforgiving discipline of ballet beautifully.

  8. Hey Anabela, have you ever taken advantage of the public rush tickets? I'm coming to Toronto next weekend, and am just trying to figure out my odds of actually getting tickets, assuming that I would be there for 11.

    1. I haven't, although I do want to try it at some point. I do know some people who have tried it for opera tickets and it's worked for them.

    2. Thank you! I think we're going to try, anyway. Always wanted to see Swan Lake, and you've inspired me to do it. :)

  9. These photos are so super stunning! I love going to the ballet, Swan Lake is just so beautiful, hope you enjoy it!

  10. I gave up ballet a few years ago & whenever I see images like these, I weep with longing to step back into my pointe shoes again. Lovely post. x

    Oui Je T'aime Aussi

  11. Thanks to this beautiful post, my husband and I were able to get 2nd row tickets for $35! It was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday!

    1. Yay! I guess through Dance Break? That's great!