It takes two
Sometimes partnerships just work. There was Jenna Roberts wobbling a little on her own as Princess Aurora in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty when on glides her Prince Iain Mackay in Act II and suddenly the pair of them are creating magic.
Mackay is a strong, solid dancer, smooth in carriage, athletic in his jumps and excellent at partnering. Roberts excelled in the flightier adagios of Act II’s vision sequence and could make the sixpence she was turning on sigh with joy. They relaxed wonderfully into each other, giving the rare impression that not only were they dancing for the audience but they were absolutely loving dancing with each other.
There was plenty more to admire in Peter Wright’s magnificent production, not least the costumes which were so plush you just wanted to reach out and stroke them. Dancing-wise, Mathias Dingman and Momoko Hirata’s Bluebird pas de deux was marvellously clean and unfussy, the six Prologue fairies were delightful in their own unique ways and Marion Tait deserves a spin-off TV series after her scene-stealingly temperamental Carabosse (she just couldn’t let her dislike for the Lilac Fairy go, even at the curtain calls). Perhaps most impressive of all was the consistently high standards of the corps dancing; precise, synchronised and graceful from just about all and sundry.
The Royal Ballet Sinfonia under Koen Kessels kept a good pace while softening some of the sharper edges of Tchaikovsky’s score which means it’s all just about perfect for those who can’t resist lovely dancing and a nice tutu.
Birmingham Royal Ballet perform The Sleeping Beauty at Sadler’s Wells until Saturday 19 October 2013. The Sadler’s Wells website will happily let you buy tickets.