Deep in the woods, Prince Siegfried has ditched his friends and finds himself at a lake. There are some beautiful white swans there, and one of them looks extra sparkly. That classy swan is Odette. Naturally, Siegfried’s first instinct is to murder her with his new crossbow.
Siegfried raises his weapon and takes aim at the swan, but just as he is about to shoot Odette dead, she magically morphs into one stunner of a lady-human. Siegfried lowers his weapon and is immediately smitten. Odette is less smitten because she’s still contemplating a restraining order.
Prince Siegfried, unfazed by the whole bird-turned-human thing, listens as Odette tells him that an evil sorcerer, von Rothbart, cast a spell on her and some other neighbourhood gals. No one knows why the spell has been cast, but those details would make this ballet more plausible, so it’s probably best that you stop asking questions right now.
Odette explains that – thanks to the spell – she and her flock are swans by day, but revert back to human form at night. (What did I say about asking questions?) Odette also tells Siegfried that the lake she and her friends swim upon was formed by the tears of their crying parents. And then she tells him that she’s the Swan Queen, thus her extra glittery costume. This is a lot of listening for Prince Siegfried all at once, so he just keeps nodding and saying stuff like, “Uh-huh,” and, “You don’t say!”
Odette tells Siegfried that if a man pure in heart pledges his eternal love to her, the spell cast upon her crew will be broken. That would mean no more aquatic vegetation and tadpoles for dinner. But if that vow of eternal love were to be broken? They’d be swans forever. Remember this detail because it’s coming back later and you’re gunna want to kick the shit out of Prince Siegfried.
Prince Siegfried ponders all of this information for about two seconds and then yells/dance mimes: I’ll marry you! Which is weird, because he was freaking out about commitment, like, five minutes ago.
Siegfried hatches a plan. (It’s the only time he has a clue in this ballet.) He invites Odette to the Betrothal Ball his mother has planned for the next evening. He’s supposed to pick a wife at the event, so if Odette agrees to attend, he’ll pledge eternal love to her and introduce her to some of his weird uncles. All of Odette’s problems will be solved! Also, he’s warm for her form, so WIN WIN.
As they are making engagement plans, von Rothbart, the aforementioned evil sorcerer, shows up and yanks Odette away from Siegfried.
Von Rothbart is basically a giant owl, but I didn’t know how to paint that costume so you’ll have to use your imagination. So, imagining he looks quite a bit like a large bird, I’m sure you can also imagine Siegfried’s first instinct: KILL IT. He grabs his crossbow and raises it to shoot von Rothbart.
Odette’s feathered friends freak out and start honking: Dude, don’t do that! If von Rothbart bites it, the spell he cast upon us can never be undone!
A lot of wing flapping ensues, which scares the crap out of von Rothbart, and he sidesteps off into the night. Swans aren’t generally violent, but when provoked? Sweet sassy molassy!
Finally alone, Siegfried and Odette dance by the lake until dawn, falling madly in love. But don’t get your hopes up. Everything’s about to take a turn for the worse…