Clas­sic bal­let never fails to im­press

Otago Daily Times - - DUNEDIN -

THE Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let re­turned for its an­nual visit with Swan Lake, which it last per­formed here in 2015.

Not much has changed be­tween pro­duc­tions, but why change a clas­sic such as this?

This is the cher­ished and en­dur­ing story of good ver­sus evil, a prince in search of a wife, an evil, de­cep­tive sor­cerer who cast a ter­ri­ble curse and true love ul­ti­mately con­quer­ing all.

The danc­ing is ex­quis­ite, cos­tum­ing is beau­ti­ful and aside from a small sound issue in Act One the over­all pro­duc­tion is di­vine — Tchaikovsk­y’s haunt­ing and mag­nif­i­cent score never fails to tug at the heart­strings.

There were many high­lights in this per­for­mance: the cygnets’ pas de qu­a­tre and char­ac­ter pieces are al­ways highly an­tic­i­pated parts of this bal­let and never seem to dis­ap­point.

The Jok­ers (Denys Si­mon and Rus­lan So­en­go­shev) were ab­so­lute gems, who pro­vided a light­heart­ed­ness and never­end­ing en­er­getic pres­ence with their in­cred­i­ble leaps and al­most ac­ro­batic per­for­mance.

How­ever, the evening be­longed to Lina Seve­liova as the Prince’s love Odette and the Sor­cerer’s se­duc­tress Odile. With her fault­less­ness and grace­ful el­e­gance, she cre­ated the per­fect em­bod­i­ment of a swan.

Seve­liova had a fragility that was en­dear­ing, and a strength that was in­spir­ing; her tim­ing and turns were im­pec­ca­ble. She com­manded the at­ten­tion of the au­di­ence and the corps de bal­let sup­ported her beau­ti­fully.

Part­ner­ing Seve­liova was Na­ri­man Bekzhanov, who made a charm­ing Prince Seigfried. The couples’ pas de deux were flaw­less.

I said this in 2015 and I’ll say it again: Swan Lake is a most beloved fairy tale and this com­pany per­forms it with such pride and pas­sion.

Their im­pec­ca­ble tech­nique and tim­ing made this an ab­so­lute joy to watch and a per­fect way to spend an evening.

I may be bi­ased, as this is my favourite bal­let, but judg­ing by the au­di­ence re­ac­tion, I’d say I’m in good com­pany — they loved it.

Swan Lake — The Im­pe­rial Rus­sian Bal­let Com­pany Re­gent Theatre Satur­day, Novem­ber 23

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