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Review: Swan Lake, Moscow Ballet La Classique, Playhouse Whitley Bay

Fabulous costumes and Tchaikovsky's music contribute to a winning formula as Swan Lake works its famous magic in Whitley Bay

****
Dancers from Moscow Ballet La Classique's Swan Lake
Dancers from Moscow Ballet La Classique's Swan Lake

The Moscow company enchanted its audience with a delightful performance of one of the most popular classical ballets.

On the Playhouse stage the dancers recreated the magic of the fairytale ballet, which was first performed in Moscow in 1877.

The ballet, directed here by Elik Melikov, follows Prince Siegfried (danced by Aleksander Tarasov) who falls in love with the beautiful Odette (Nadejda Ivanova).

In a lavish and theatrical opening scene, with dancers in traditional costume, Siegfried celebrated his 21st birthday to the accompaniment of Tchaikovsky’s famous score.

Ballerinas wore luxurious pastel pink costumes and floor-length beaded gowns, filling the stage with colour and pomp.

My eyes never wandered far from the energetic and hilarious performance of Maxim Marenin who danced the Fool.

His exaggerated facial expressions and sprightly leaps around the stage in his purple joker costume ensured he got one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night.

The scene of frivolity gave way to a fantasy lake in Act Two and the audience got their first glimpse of the ice-white tutus and feathery head-dresses.

Ivanova, the Queen of Swans, gave a mesmerising and highly technical portrayal of a delicate Odette which contrasted with the sharpness of her performance of the black swan, Odille.

Her crystal-beaded costume, complete with feathered tutu and tiara, suggested through the tiniest hints of detail that she stood apart from her fellow swan-maidens.

One of the most entertaining scenes was the Act Three performance in the royal castle of the flamenco-inspired section danced by Irina Tiablikova and Albert Salimov.

Tiablikova whipped her red fan artfully in the air and performed some of the most dramatic back bends of the night.

Her costume, designed by Melikov, stood out as one of the most beautiful with its skin-tight sleeves with black swirls and an open back.

Act Four, True Love is Triumphant, saw the sorcerer Von Rothbart (Dmitry Smirnov) engulfed in smoke and lightning produced by flashes of red light.

Odette’s head gently lay on the chest of her prince as the curtains closed on the sea of sparkling white swans that had lifted our hearts.

Sophie Biddle

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