By Liza Krylova
I went to Russian National Ballet Theater’s performance last weekend. I believe it was one of three: Coppelia on Friday evening in East Lansing, Sleeping Beauty on Saturday at 2pm in Macomb, and Swan Lake on Saturday at 8pm in Dearborn. For the first two, they went under the name “Moscow Festival Ballet” directed by Sergei Radchenko, but this is actually the same company as “Russian National Ballet” directed by Elena Radchenko (or at least, the dancers said it was one company when I talked to them last year). Last year, I saw their performances of Cinderella and Don Quixote. I have to say, their company has improved tremendously! The dancers’ technique is better, and the look of the performances overall. The costumes and sets were beautiful. The girls were uniform in “swan” Acts 2&4 and good soloists in Acts 1&3. The men in the corps were ok; they looked good in the parts they performed. Overall, the choreography was well done, highlighting their strengths and hiding their weaknesses. It was not the Mariinsky version, but perhaps it was more similar to the Bolshoi? I recognized the “Spanish Bride” dance in Act 3 as the one from a recent Bolshoi production (search for Osipova on youtube)! Instead of character dances in Act 3, each hopeful bride was a soloist with several demi-soloists. The Act 1 Pas de Trois cavalier had nice lines, but instead of landing on his knee at the end of his variation, he slipped into bent-leg splits and did not try to cover it up one bit! After finishing a pirouette later, he almost slipped out of his extra-wide fourth position as well! The Pas de Trois girls were a pleasure to watch–light on their feet, flirtatious and happy. The jester was very cute and playful (perhaps he had the best jumping/turning technique out of all the men). The Prince had a sorrowful face (which would have gone well for Don Q), but he had nice lines and showed emotion (especially when he did not have to partner with Odette/Odile). Odette had the longest arms imaginable; sometimes she was too abrupt in faster parts, and stoic in slower parts. I did not fully like her phrasing, and she showed no emotion with her face/upper body, which was sad because in general she was pleasing to the eye… As Odile she made a much more imposing character, which is not surprising for such a young/unexperienced dancer (almost everyone in the company looked like they were under 21). Rothbart was a great jumper and had a fierce personality! I remembered him from last year as the unflexible, turned-in, and crooked-legged Basilio–but in the costume of Rothbart he was great!
I really enjoyed their Swan Lake. The theater was almost full. I’m sad I did not get to see their other performances that weekend, but I look forward to their next one on January 23! I wonder what they will be showing?! It is so exciting when a company brings so much variety to Michigan. Most importantly of all, they keep on coming back to the Metro-Detroit area!!!
Posted 2 days ago #