What turns us on: Swan Lake

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Photograph: Arnold Groeschel

Classical ballet has a good reputation for all the wrong reasons. Bound by images of beauty, delicacy and nobility, however legitimate, ballet is also erotic—and it’s hard to find anything as sensual as Swan Lake. The heroine, a rarefied being, comes to life under the silvery glow of moonlight; even more seductive are her swan maidens, a serenely dignified corps de ballet of half-women, half-creatures that glide in silken formations as if the surface of the stage were a tranquil body of water. The mystery of these sleek figures, adorned in skintight bodices of downy white feathers, is neither feigned nor frigid. It’s incandescent.

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