The English National Ballet’s revival of one of the world’s most-loved dance performances comes at a canny time – just when the hype surrounding Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan has started to become a little stale. Derek Deane’s choreography has never looked better: performed by the exquisite Elena Glurdjidze who plays the female lead Odette/Odile and a superb company who provide support with sylph-like finesse. The folkloric beauty of this entire production was marred only by a rather messy first act, but this minor blemish is forgotten as soon as the swans make their first breathtaking entrance.  One could go on forever about the elegiac lyricism of the dancers gliding across the stage in impeccable synchronisation with Tchaikovsky’s Dances of the Swans, while the famous Danse des Petits Cygnets is blithely, almost mischievously, executed.

…a specimen of delightful sprightliness and dolorous poeticism…

As the performance progresses into the third act Arionel Vargas enters as Prince Siegfried, with impressively trim, soundless footwork. Glurdjidze’s turn as Odile is satisfyingly dangerous and alluring – both lead dancers take the Grand Coda to its dizzying culmination, showcasing their palpable chemistry alongside a series of flawless pirouettes. The denouement of this admirable production is let down only by the somewhat ridiculous image of Glurdjidze and Vargas being drawn along on a cloud as the swans bow in tribute to their eternal love. At any rate, this Swan Lake is a specimen of delightful sprightliness and dolorous poeticism  and it takes flight with more than a little professionalism.

Swan Lake ran at The Coliseum from 22nd – 26th March.

4 1/2 Stars


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