Swan Lake, The London Colesium

A Fairy Tale Brought to Life

Wow everything was like a beautiful fairy tale; the set design, the costumes, the orchestra’s music and of course the dancing. I have seen various versions of Swan Lake and St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake is one of the best, it is superb. For me the outstanding performances were by Irina Kolesnikova as Odette/Odile, Sergei Fedorkov as the Jester and Tamara Fokina, Karyna Shatkovska, Arisa Hashimoto and Ksenia Ring as the Four Little Swans.

Fedorkov has springs in his legs: his high grand jetés sailed across the stage, his pirouettes are sharply brilliant, he is also very cheeky, funny and light on his feet, which is ideal for the Court Jester. I counted at least 25 pirouettes by Fedorkov as the Jester, which he made look so effortless.

Tamara Fokina, Karyna Shatkovska, Arisa Hashimoto and Ksenia Ring make The Dance of the Four Little Swans, which is such a difficult piece, look very easy. Remember they are dancing a variety of hard steps on pointe, joined together by holding each other’s hands, with their arms crossed. They dance beautifully and are perfectly synchronised with each other and the music.

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre – photo-KT (1)
Corps de Ballet, photo by Vladimir Zenzinov

I love the gorgeous set, including the lushness of the forest and the pastoral scenes. The Pas de Trois by MikhailmTkachuk, Olga Pavlova and Yeltzaveta Barkalova is lovely. The costumes and dancing in the Spanish variation, which is full of joyous music and dancing, using tambourines and castanets are wonderful. The Corps de Ballet are so fantastic. The sight of 24 swans dancing on pointe, in symmetrical formations and in unison is amazing.

Irena Kolesnikova. Photo Credit - Vladimir Zenzinov
Irina Kolesnikova photo by Vladimir Zenzinov

There are many show stopping variations. My highlights are Irina as Odette during her White Swan variation in Act 2 which I loved. I enjoyed the Pas de Deux with Denis Rodkin as the Prince and Irina as Odette which is so romantic. I adore Irina as the Black Swan Odile, particularly the Black Swan Pas de Deux variation, in which she easily did over 30 successive turns (fouettés en tournant) which is technically brilliant and thrilling to watch. Irina uses every bone, muscle and sinew, from head to toe, through to her fingertips and facial expression to evoke the changes in Odette’s/Odile’s moods. Irina has everything; she has wonderful flexibility, fluidity and lyricism as well as strength and control, combined with her nuanced acting. She showcases all these talents excellently in her Dying Swan variation where she floats along using a series of small steps on pointe (bourrées en couru). In her Dying Swan variation Irina conveys Odette’s emotions so well, that I believed I could feel her fragility and turmoil, leaving me with a tear in my eye and awe at Irina’s beautiful performance.

The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre production of Swan Lake is at the London Colesium is on from 22 August to 2 September 2018.

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