The times they are a changing
For Kenneth MacMillan The Sleeping Beauty was the cornerstone of any classical ballet company’s repertoire. This revival of the version he created for American Ballet Theater in 1987 serves as something of a yardstick for English National Ballet’s progress over the short period since Tamara Rojo took over the reins as Artistic Director.
Based on this performance she’s doing a grand job. The dancing throughout was crisp and purposeful, the corps noticeably harmonious and the soloists, though not always distinctive, were confident and engaged with their work.
Of course, it helps when you have a new ballerina of the calibre of, well, Tamara Rojo. She took the role of Princess Aurora and, though it looked like she was unnecessarily trying a bit too hard to impress in the famous Rose Adage, the solo that followed shortly afterwards was sublime – her musicality and textbook pirouettes were breathtaking to witness.
Her Prince Désiré, Vadim Muntagirov, was equally outstanding. He was so composed, so assured in what he was doing that it never looked like he was going to put a foot wrong – he must be a joy to dance with. He also possesses a fine leap and a startling turn of pace that sent a thrill of excitement shooting out into the auditorium during his variations.
Still a relatively new partnership, the chemistry between Rojo and Muntagirov didn’t quite gel at first (mind you, it can’t be easy dancing with the boss) but it certainly did by the time of the Wedding scene pas de deux; rarely do you see two performers dancing with such precision and understanding.
We were also treated to the sight of Yonah Acosta and Shiori Kase as the pair of Bluebirds. They made a charming couple; he a barely restrained space-hopper of springy jumps, and she a model of delicacy and poise. James Streeter was terrific too as a fiercely formidable Carabosse and Daria Klimentová was a beautiful Lilac Fairy, a waterfall of melting arms and gentle charisma.
With Nico Georgiadis’ stunning costumes topping everything off, this Sleeping Beauty was a pleasure to watch.
The Sleeping Beauty continues at the London Coliseum until 19 January 2013 and then moves on to Oxford and Southampton. Details and tickets can be found on the ENB website.