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Monday, August 11, 2014


(Swan Lake, Act IV)

The Grand Pas from Paquita  the highlight of the evening.(Review by Mary Ann Salvage)

Stars of the Ballet Russia included Durban on their South Africa Tour 2014 with two performances in the Playhouse Opera.

The evening of classical ballet opened with Act II of Swan Lake followed by Act IV. A demanding ballet to dance at the best of times, the corps de ballet which consisted of only 14 dancers, managed to set the scene beautifully. Their dancing was technically sound and well-rehearsed, except for a slight glitch with one of the four cygnets who, after landing on the incorrect leg, quickly fixed it!

The role of Odette was beautifully danced by Maria Sokolnikova, a tiny dancer with lovely line and high extensions. I felt, however, that her Prince Siegfried, German Zhukovsckiy did not match her standard technically although he partnered her well. His unfortunate splayed hands were a huge distraction to me.

The Evil Genius, more commonly known as Von Rothbart, was powerfully danced by Mikhail Mikhailov.

The second act began with The Sleeping Beauty which saw Maria Klyueva dancing a very mediocre Aurora. Her Prince Charming, Mikhail Mikhailov, was equally disappointing. In my opinion this section could have been excluded.

The Grand Pas from Paquita with glorious music by Minkus and costumes to match was the highlight of the evening. This ballet was well polished and most enjoyable. The Variation with two female dancers, Elena Aituganova and Tatiana Kainova was very strong and particularly good. It looked like all the dancers were thoroughly enjoying themselves, especially the Principal dancer Sokolnikova who pulled off her 32 fouette turns with ease. Her solo was very tenderly danced with great sensitivity to the music.

 I would just like to add that during interval, the people I chatted to agreed with me that the recorded music used, was played far too loudly. One does not expect this, especially in a theatre equipped with multi-million rand facilities. - Mary Ann Salvage