What a wonderful celebration of the world class talents of Bolshoi Ballet Principals, and future stars and students from the London Russian Ballet School (LRBS).
Before I continue to describe my reaction to these superb performances, I need to explain that the audience included 800 London school students who were invited by the LRBS to experience live ballet and theatre, for the first time, for many. This is part of LRBS’s outreach work to encourage the participation of young people from diverse backgrounds. I am a ballet enthusiast but I am not an expert, however judging by the audience’s reaction to this eclectic programme of classical and modern ballet, it worked. There were certain pieces which they loved, based on the level of applause and whooping, which I accompanied with my own screeching.
LRBS’ and the Bolshoi Ballet’s collaboration, presented a delicious taster menu of contemporary and classical ballet, including a few premieres. There are so many highlights to share. One of my picks of the mix was a Pas de trois from “Swan Lake,” featuring dancers Megan Vain, Marianne Allen and Dominic Handford, from the LRBS who performed excellent pirouettes and partnering. Another favourite of mine was “Angel” a modern work premiered by LRBS. It was choreographed and performed by Dimitry Antipov and Natalie Carter, a graduate of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy and student of LRBS. Natalie Carter, danced blindfolded to depict a blind girl, her performance was lyrical and moving. There was excellent partnering between Dimitry Antipov and Natalie Carter and the ensemble of LRBS students were very good too. On the basis of the level and length of the applause the young audience loved it too.
For me, another special was “Cinque”, music by Vivaldi, choreography by Mauro Bigonzetti, performed by Ekaterina Krysanova a Principal from the Bolshoi Ballet. Everything from the black, sleek, trendy one-shouldered tutu, to the dancing was fantastic. The contemporary choreography and Ekaterina Krysanova were superb, including the way she used every bone, muscle and sinew from her toes to her finger tips to extend the elegant, sensuous and sometimes staccato movements. I felt like every movement and gesture meant something.
“W. Oda” was performed by another Principal of the Bolshoi Ballet, Semyon Chudin, whose flawless leaps, and pirouettes were perfect for a Philip Glass composition, played by the amazing cellists and violinists in the live orchestra.
I loved the escapist romance of the Pas de deux from “Raymonda,” performed by Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov, who are also Principals of the Bolshoi Ballet. There was beauty in the smooth, controlled and graceful lifts and pirouettes, as well as the costumes.
I found the performances in La Petite Danseuse, which was the second premiere, breathtakingly beautiful and haunting. I exhaled at the end of the piece, it was wonderfully performed by Marianne Allen and choreographer and dancer Dimitry Antipov. The audience were very vocal about how much they enjoyed this one too.
Another favourite of mine was “Carmen Suite,” performed by Principals Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov. I loved her high kicks and her playful and sexy performance. His leaps suspended high in the air and his pirouettes were sharp. Their costumes were great too.
The “Don Quixote” Divertissments were awe-inspiring including Galia Nimkovsky as Mercedes, with the extreme flexibility of her back bends, one after the other, which were low and extended. I loved the joyful music too. And what about the lovely Bolero performed by Isobel Passey and Ivan Romao, who were totally in sync in this uplifting variation? Andrea Restrepo, performing as Cupid, was well done. The Pas de Trio of 2 male and 1 female dancers, Jemima Morrish, Dominic Handford and Ivan Ramao was very accomplished. The Grand Pas performed by Ekaterina Krysanova and Semyon Chudin was another superb performance, technically difficult, they made it looked so easy, the lifts, leaps, shaping, balancing and pirouettes were poised and elegant, appearing effortless.
The stars of the future include Cassandra Adu-Tei, Jemima Morrish and Dominic Handford who performed competently in the Pas de Trois “Paquita.” Also watch out for other LRBs students, because on the basis of their performance at the London Palladium, there are some Principal ballet dancers in the making.
A special mention should be made about the live orchestra including the flautist, Pasha Mansurov who played for “Syrinx” for a delightfully lyrical performance by the talented Natalie Carter. All the cellists and violinists, who are too numerous to mention, were brilliant.
The costumes were gorgeous, just right for each performance. I feel so lucky to have attended this one night only performance. Please forgive my repeated superlatives, but the performances were so good I ran out of different ways to describe them!
Romantic Revolution was at the London Palladium Theatre, Monday 18 September.