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The Imperial Russian Ballet Company
Saturday, November 24
Reviewed by Penny Neilson
The Imperial Russian Ballet Company return with their triple bill featuring Sleeping Beauty, Les Sylphides and Carmen.
Act one is the final act from Sleeping Beauty: Princess Aurora's wedding to Prince Desire. The partnering of Lina Seveliova and Nariman Bekzhanov was strong and technically adept, but lacked a little in chemistry.
The wedding guests included many favourite fairytale characters, but it was Puss in Boots and the White Pussycat that charmed with their coquettish playfulness.
The pair of Bluebirds were gorgeous with their lyrical and expressive performance - he with his impressive elevation and allegro, and she with beautiful delicacy.
A change in the order of the programme saw Carmen performed as the second act. It provided the drama and intensity for the evening - something that really would have been better as the finale.
The iconic character of the gypsy Carmen is an independent free spirit; she is a seductress and was performed with fierce attitude by Anna Pashkova.
Her suitors Don Jose (Bekzhanov) and the Torero (Ivan Zviagintsev) valiantly fought for her affections, but this act, and in fact the evening, belonged to Pashkova, who owned every step, every pose, every look.
After such high drama the programme returned to another classical and more subdued ballet, Les Sylphides.
Offering dancers resplendent in long white tutus, this is a romantic ballet that has no real narrative save for a young poet stumbling upon a group of "Sylphs'', and is set to a series of pieces by Chopin. It is demanding on the corps, who were unwavering in their positions (often long held).
This triple bill is a brilliant way for the company to showcase different ballets and for the audience to get an evening of classics with a bit of sass thrown in to excite and entertain.