Full speed ahead Mr Bosun!
The return to London of Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev in Don Quixote, the ballet that made the couple’s name in the capital when they performed it with the Bolshoi in 2010, was more like a pop concert; applause greeted them every time they stepped onto the stage as did cheers and shouts at the end of every solo or duet. The adoration became so infectious even a horse and donkey entering stage left were greeted as though Rihanna had just arrived.
In truth, the Mikhailovsky Ballet production is an old-fashioned affair in terms of staging, costuming and lousy acting but this was hardly the point – Vasiliev and Osipova were here, doing what they do best. To begin with they looked a little anxious, a bit too eager too please. Vasiliev in particular, whose thighs get lower with every show and who always tends to dance on the edge, looked wild and uncontrolled.
However, come the final act the pair had settled down and they delivered the most dazzling bravura dancing imaginable. Vasiliev’s leaps were outrageous in their extravagance and impeccably performed but the real star of this performance was Osipova. She span her on-the-nail fouettés at a million miles an hour, soared through the air with her jumps and looked like she was having the time of her life.
There were also some decent supporting performances. Valeria Zapasnikova made a fetching Street Dancer to Evgeny Deryabin’s Toreador (never has someone twirled his cape with such righteous conviction as Deryabin). Anna Kuligina shone out twice, firstly as one of Kitri’s friends and later during the ‘white’ act Variations, while Alexander Omar had a fine old time as a gypsy heart-throb.
However, the night inevitably belonged to Osipova and Vasiliev; their ovation was standing, lengthy and the dangerous looking flower-throws caused unmitigated hilarity. It’s great to see that not only do they remain enthralling dancers but also that neither of them appear to have lost their appetite for the sheer joy of performance. And long may that continue.
Tickets for Don Quixote and the rest of the Mikhailovsky Ballet’s 2013 London season are available from the eno website.