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Russian troupe a rare treat

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TO Swan lake 1

Swan Lake

WHERE: Theatre Teatro at Montecasino, Fourways

Until: July 27

RATING: ****

The magnificence of the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre’s stupendous performances, opulent sets, dazzling costumes and the pleasure of live Tchaikovsky music by the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra amalgamate into an unforgettable experience. This is classical ballet at its very best.

The opportunity to enjoy full-length ballets on this majestic scale has for the ballet-loving audiences of South Africa become a morbid rarity and is received with exuberant delight.

Prima ballerina, Irina Kolesnikova, gives a spellbinding performance as Odette and Odile. Her superior tech- nical prowess allows her to effortlessly sculpt her characters to perfection. Her physical ability and emotional portrayal conjure a striking and vivid embodi- ment of the swan. Her port de bras is meticulously chiseled to accentuate the finest nuances of her characters.

Her transition into the Black Swan is a dramatic transformation with electrifying virtuosity, especially in her masterful execution of the infamous 32 fouettés.

Eric Rakhmatulaev’s Jester is a gem. Amid a jovial and entertaining per- formance, he skillfully and consistently executes no less than eight pirouettes ending on balance.

Dmitri Akulinin, as Prince Siegfried, partners Kolesnikova in mesmerising pas de deux work that simulates poetry in motion.

The standard of the corps de ballet is most impressive. The Swan dancers’ unison in scene two and scene four is militaristically precise and aesthetically breathtaking.

It is unfortunate to reminisce about the days when ballet performances of this calibre were frequently staged in South Africa.

Ballet lovers can therefore not afford to miss this spectacular thrill.

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