Rising to the Occasion
Alina Cojocaru is back! And how. After a decent warm-up in William Forsythe’s Approximate Sonata 2016 at Sadler’s Wells in April, she took to the Coliseum stage in Kenneth MacMillan’s The Sleeping Beauty for English National Ballet and she stormed it. From the moment she bounced into view she grabbed the ballet by the throat and declared it her show. The meticulous nonchalance of her Rose Adage took the breath away and her precision of movement was astonishing throughout. Over and above that, she just looked so happy dancing.
Joseph Caley gave excellent support as her Prince, the best I’ve seen him dance yet – he was composed, assured and gave plenty of emotional depth to his first, lonely solo. His partnering has come on leaps and bounds too and the pair of them made a convincing regal couple.
The whole show was good though. The first act fairies knocked their solos off with aplomb; Senri Kou managed to make some sense out of the Songbird variation with her astonishingly nimble fingers, and Rina Kanehara gave the Fairy of the Golden Vine some very welcome oomph. Kanehara shone again in the Bluebird pas de deux, making an excellent foil to Daniel McCormick and his terrific leaps; together they were a lovely pair. Unusually for ENB nowadays, the corps weren’t at their best in the vision scene, but James Streeter did a wonderful job as the crotchety Carabosse to help keep things moving.
MacMillan’s production still looks handsome, although the scrimmed set designs look a little dated now, and Nicholas Georgiadis’ costumes stand out as opulent as ever. The orchestra played at a good tempo and the show sped by, something you can rarely say about The Sleeping Beauty. It was a treat to watch and a privilege to witness Cojocaru in action.
English National Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty runs at the London Coliseum until 16 June 2018. The ENB website can give you more info and provide you with tickets.