Dance: Swan Lake Hippodrome, Birmingham

For all the success Matthew Bourne's version of the world's most popular ballet is enjoying in the West End, there is plenty of life yet in more traditional forms of good old Swan Lake, as Birmingham Royal Ballet proves by reviving it for the autumn tour. This is the dark, dramatic production created by Philip Prowse, Peter Wright and Galina Samsova, first given 15 years ago and still in good condition.

As a manifesto of the company's present strength, no fewer than five different casts danced the leads this past weekend at Birmingham Hippodrome, and two further pairs are scheduled to appear on the tour. Besides, all the small roles are shared by at least two or three performers, and the general standard, whichever cast you see, is impressively high.

Inevitably, there was special interest in the first appearance of Thomas Edur and Agnes Oaks, newly joined from English National Ballet. We knew that Edur is the best man any British company can offer for these big romantic roles, and he demonstrated it clearly with his courteous manner, fine partnering and brilliant solo work. The only possible complaint about his dancing is that, giving a pepped-up version of the main solo, he makes it all look so light and easy that the virtuosity could go unnoticed.

Oaks shows equally smooth technique and style, but is more bland in characterisation (I think I have always enjoyed her best in modern roles). At the risk of heresy, I wonder whether, for all their beautiful rapport, this couple are too much alike in their blond, slender looks and elegant manner to make an ideal partnership. Maybe each of them might be sparked off dramatically by appearing with someone else for more contrast.

There is certainly no lack of choice within BRB. The most moving performances of the run were those at Saturday's two shows. Monica Zamora (matinee) gives a rare clarity to the old-fashioned mime gestures, as well as to her dancing, phrasing everything beautifully to the music. Maybe Wolfgang Stollwitzer, her partner, looked a little self-conscious at times, but his tall, dark good looks and bold dancing make this excusable.

Theirs was the reticent, classic style, and excellent within it. If you prefer more intensity, Letitia Muller and Sergiu Pobereznic that evening had it, and to spare. Both of them went all out for every touch of emotion, firm, strong and vivid in their dancing individually and together. The weak point of this production is a somewhat skimped last act (until the radiant final apotheosis), but this couple pull it off best through sheer commitment.

In the supporting casts, I kept noticing bright, interesting faces and eager dancing from old hands and new recruits alike: so many that to name a few would be unfair. Better to note the quality of the whole, and to remark that the men, far from being "ballet boys", all look and dance like real men, which sets off the beguiling femininity of the women. A word, too, for the Royal Ballet Sinfonia's wholehearted playing under Peter Ernst Lassen and Anthony Twiner.

A footnote (literally): BRB used to insist on all the women wearing proper, shiny pink ballet shoes in the old classics, which made them look neaterthan other British companies.They no longer do this, and the resulting mixture of polished and matt detracts from their otherwise admirable corps work. Easy to put right - go for it.

Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
artSistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Hewer, Lord Alan Sugar, Karren Brady are returning for The Apprentice series 10

TV
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder star in 'Girl, Interrupted'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Thomas Pynchon in 1955, left, and Reese Witherspoon and Joaquin Phoenix in Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of his novel, Inherent Vice

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Nicole Scherzinger will join the cast of Cats

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Fans were left surprised by the death on Sunday night's season 26 premiere

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lady Mary goes hunting with suitor Lord Gillingham

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

    Time to stop running

    At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence