🎭 Swan Lake
📍Richmond Theatre
🎫 PR invite

Nerubashenko Ballet’s production of Swan Lake glides its way to Richmond Theatre, for an enchanting evening.

Premiering in 1877, Swan Lake is considered one of the masterpieces of classical ballet. It has performed many productions and new choreography across the world, enjoyed by ballet lovers and newcomers. This was my first time watching ballet and I could definitely see why Swan Lake is hailed as one of the greatest.

The story

The classic tale follows Prince Siegfried, who falls in love with Odette, Queen of the Swans. Odette and the swans are under a spell by the evil magician, Rothbart. They spend their days gliding across the lake, only for their human form to be regained at night. Enthralled by Odette’s beauty, the Prince swears eternal love for her, and Odette believes his true love can save her and the other maidens from the spell.

When Prince Siegfried must choose a bride, the evil Rothbart tricks the Prince into declaring his love for Odile, the daughter of Rothbart, who bears a striking resemblance to Odette. Realising his mistake, Prince Siegfried begs for Odette’s forgiveness and fights against the evil magician until the spell is broken. The ballet has a fairytale ending, with Siegfried and Odette having their happily ever after.

Swan Lake is a love story, performed in three acts to the iconic Tchaikovsky. There is romance and sorcery, but no tragedy. I still enjoyed the story and watched with a ballet enthusiast who explained this production strayed from the traditional ending.

The production

The live orchestra was a standout, particularly the Harp solo, which had me captivated. Scores that were instantly recognisable and beautifully complemented the ballet. The company was perfectly poised, light on their feet, effortlessly gliding across the stage. I was most impressed with how brilliantly timed the dancers and orchestra were–it was fantastic!

Performed by a hand-picked company of international ballet artists, this production included various dance styles, which I was not expecting. In a colourful Palace celebration sequence, we watch an exuberant Spanish flamenco duet followed by an upbeat Russian folk dance. Act 2 was certainly more energetic, in both the story and performance. I noticed minor mishaps, which I assume were down to the smaller-scale staging. I imagine a larger stage would elevate the production even more. Still, the company did a great job at utilising the smaller space and did not let this deter the routines.

With no words, performers must rely on their movements and facial expressions to tell the story. I wished the Prince showed more emotion, particularly in Act 1 where he falls deeply in love with Odette. By comparison, the company was full of passion, especially the entourage of swans.

As the lead ballerina eloquently danced in her roles as Odette and Odile, personality shone on her face. Dressed in a gorgeous all-black outfit, Odile’s solo was impressive. It was seductive and confident, and I watched in awe at the number of fouette turns they did. I know we were supposed to root for Odette and Prince Siegfried, but Odile had us in a trance–no wonder Siegfried fell for it!

The dancer was expressive, showcasing a delicate, timid nature in the role of Odette when meeting with the Prince. She certainly embodied the movements of a swan as the duo immaculately danced across the stage.

With a talented company of dancers, beautiful, detailed costumes, and stunning choreography, I can see why Swan Lake is a masterpiece!

Nerubashenko Ballet presents Swan Lake will continue its UK tour throughout January 2023.