After my last post, I went on a safari to discover an example of Swan Lake done right. Of course Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev were present to show how it's done.
The tempo in this version is just slightly faster but the technique is worlds apart from what I see today in any company. Both of them vary their dance speed and perfectly phrase the steps. So that the viewer believes there is a dialogue going on between the Prince and Swan. This isn't a tale of "poor me, pity me" but a woman meeting a man who gives her hope.
Now I'm hoping I will see a performance without all the tooth decay sweet rot currently in vogue that can match this example.