Monday, 24 August 2015

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre's La Bayadere

Photo: Andrei Klemeshev
La Bayadere, St Petersburg Ballet Theatre, London Coliseum - reviewed on 22nd August

With one arm extended in front and one to the side, Irina Kolesnikova bows her head and bends her body forwards. Delicate movements ripple through her back to the soaring string sounds of Ludwig Minkus's score. This gorgeous moment (in Kolesnikova's Act I solo) was the undoubted highlight of St Petersburg Ballet Theatre's La Bayadere.
Irina Kolesnikova
Photo: Konstantin Tachkin

Dancing was shaky during much of the rest of the ballet. The Act III Entrance of the Shades was the least syncronised I've seen with the leading female rushing ahead of the music and her 31 followers. Musicality and unison were equally lacking in most of the corps de ballet sections and dancers repeatedly looked sideways for clarification of poses and foot positions. (Whether they were under-rehearsed or just extremely tired - after a ten day run of Swan Lake - was unclear.)

In the leading roles, the Bolshoi Ballet's Denis Rodkin literally leapt into life during his dynamic and technically-challenging solos, but lacked charisma in the production's pas de deux and narrative sequences. Anna Samostrelova and Miho Naotsuko gave crisp and confident Shades variations, whilst Kolesnikova excelled in Acts I and II but seemed less suited to Act III's dreaminess.

Notable throughout was the beauty of La Bayadere's music, played by the St Petersburg Ballet Orchestra under the baton of Timur Gorkovenko. The orchestra pit's exquisite performance frequently outshone the action onstage.

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