A touring production of Swan Lake was TIM MACFARLAN's first ballet experience.
The Russian State Ballet and Opera House brought composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s classic piece to the Concert Hall at Fairfield Halls in Croydon for one night only on Tuesday, November 20.
The first half left me grinning from ear to ear thanks to the music of conductor Andrei Galanov’s Philharmonic Orchestra of Minsk combined with the shear physicality and athleticism of the dancers.
Unable to appreciate the finer points of technique I was still amazed by the poise and self possession of the performers while flinging themselves – and sometimes each other – across the stage in various shapes and contortions.
Unfortunately the story completely escaped me, partly through a lack of familiarity with the trials of Odette and Prince Siegfried and partly because I found it hard to concentrate on the narrative with everything else going on.
The set was well rendered, with a particularly dank looking magic lake to complement the splendour of the castle, but the costumes were even more striking with all sorts of florid gold patterning flying about.
Being ballet there is something a bit ridiculous about the whole thing; it is hard to take a bloke in impossibly skin tight white lycra trousers seriously no matter how great an athlete he is.
But when the evil sorcerer Rothbart’s famous theme comes in it is hard not to be seriously impressed, even if the stream of virtuoso solo performances onstage and rich music from the orchestra’s pit got a bit much in the second half.
With all the discipline and self sacrifice which goes into this from the 45 dancers and 30-odd musicians on show it is hard not to be seriously impressed, even without wanting to be a ballet regular.
The Russian State Ballet and Opera House is touring Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty across the UK until December 15.
For information and tickets visit bookballet.co.uk