CULTURE: Light and Shade in Russian Ballet Extravaganza; ATRS REVIEW
Byline: Susan Turner
La Bayadere Symphony Hall, Birmingham
A ballet of two halves - and unconnected halves at that - is an apt description of St Petersburg Ballet Theatre's version of La Bayadere.
For all the oriental splendour of glittering costumes and bare flesh and the unfolding of a tragic love triangle, the first two acts are stylised and unemotional, the dancers more concerned with over-acting and delivering the choreography than with projecting the passion of the story to the audience.
It doesn't help that the sets are old-fashioned by Western standards or that images of the dancers are reflected on to the shiny side panels of the auditorium's tiers, which distract. And the RSPB should be alerted to a scene with white birds attached to the corps de ballet's arms. Luckily, said birds are deceased as they would never survive the manner in which they are flung around, the girls seemingly unaware they carry a bird, not a feather or a fan.
What is stunning is the series of Indian-inspired costumes for the divertissements of classical and character dances - jewel bright ruby, emerald, turquoise and pink dresses, cropped tops and harem pants.
Then, just as all seemed lost (indeed some members of the audience failed to return to their seats after the first interval) Act III revealed exactly what it is the Russian ballet companies do so brilliantly. …