Reviewer: Steve Turner
Founded in the late 1980’s the Russian National Ballet is dedicated to upholding the great tradition of ballet from Russia and is currently touring three of the most famous works scored by Tchaikovsky.
The audience is privileged to witness a quite wonderful performance of the Sleeping Beauty. While not having a score that is quite as popular as the other works on the tour, there are still some familiar refrains throughout the performance, admirably played by the orchestra of the Russian State Ballet of Siberia under Anatoliy Chepurmoy.
From the opening scene the control and elegance of the corps de ballet is a wonder to behold, each scene carefully choreographed and beautifully realised by the talented company. The timing of the movements of so many people on a relatively small stage is testament to the amount of skill they each possess, with as many as 30 performers all moving hither and thither it’s remarkable how relaxed they all look as they glide and leap past each other.
The first act is a little light on action as it is really setting the scene for Act 2 when the handsome prince awakens the princess and everybody dances joyfully before living happily ever after. Well, almost everyone as the wicked fairy Carabosse has by now disappeared into smoke. Alexander Daev is excellent in the rôle, a mass of swirling cloak and tapping cane he even manages to get some pantomime style booing at the curtain call.
Act 2 is also where the principal dancers get the chance to shine and Maria Sokolnikova as Princess Aurora and Eldar Sarsembaev as Prince Desire make a delightful couple. The energy and power of Sarsembaev coupled with the grace and lightness of Sokolnikova combine beautifully, each of them executing their movements with poise and precision. The rapturous applause they are given at the end of each passage is well deserved.
Maria Klyueva as the Lilac Fairy is marvellous throughout, so perfectly in control of her movements that she seems to float slightly above the stage rather than on it, the perfect embodiment of a fairy.
At the finale the cast are joined on stage by the conductor and all are given several curtain calls by a very enthusiastic packed house, including many prospective ballerinas who must have gone home dreaming of one day being on stage.
A fabulous Christmas treat.
On tour throughout December 2013