Magazine article Musical Opinion

The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Eastbourne

Magazine article Musical Opinion

The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Eastbourne

Article excerpt

The St Petersburg Ballet * Nutcracker * Romeo & Juliet * Mavin Koo Dance

The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Eastbourne

It was thrilling to be able to see the rarely performed La Bayadere danced by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre in Eastbourne's Congress Theatre on 14 December. You can see why this ballet, with music by Ludwig Minkus and choreography based on Marius Petipa, is sometimes called Giselle, East of Suez, since both ballets are deeply imbued with romance and tragedy. The main character, La Bayadère, which roughly translates as "a dancing girl serving in a Hindu temple", here danced exquisitely by the company's Prima Ballerina Irina Kolesnikova, is in love with the local hero, Solor. The Rajah rewards Solor for his heroism with the gift of marriage to his daughter Gamzatti. Nikiya, the Bayadère, is not happy with this situation and having danced her heart out at their betrothal then kills herself. Solor eventually feels so guilty he kills himself too. Despite no happy ending the ballet was wonderful.

The St Petersburg Ballet Theatre is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this Season and they can be justifiably proud. To celebrate they have brought a gorgeous book of photographs simply called Irina Kolesnikova, which is available at theatres as well as Waterstones and other leading bookshops. In La Bayadère Irina Kolesnikova was superb, like Blackpool Rock, the rings that run through her body all read Prima Ballerina. When she danced for the engaged couple a lump came into my throat at the passion of her dance and the expressiveness of her distress. This young dancer can project emotion while never missing a step. She is to ballet what poetry is to language: it's the means by which we feel it.

The sets, designed by Semyen Pastukh, were beautifully evocative of somewhere Indian, simple, colourful and effective. …

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