Ballet review: Russian Seasons of XXI Century, London Coliseum

view gallery VIEW GALLERY
2.00

 

Some shows just seem to be doomed. On opening night, the Russian Seasons of XXI Century dropped one production due to injury, then added an unscheduled interval while they tried to fix the lighting. Technical hitches aside, it was a ramshackle night of dubious revivals and recorded music. The bright spot was British-born guest star Xander Parish, dancing with bold conviction.

Russian Seasons of XXI Century is essentially a Ballets Russes tribute act. Director Andris Liepa has revived or reinvented works commissioned by Diaghilev in the early 20th century. The sumptuous designs of Bakst and Golovine are skimpily recreated, with approximate scenery and shiny artificial fabrics. The sound system is tinny, the stagings thin. Productions are danced by the Kremlin Ballet, with guests from other companies.

Ilze Liepa was scheduled to dance a new work Cleopatra – Ida Rubinstein, inspired by one of the early Diaghilev ballets. When she was injured, it was hastily replaced by Scheherazade, with Parish as the Golden Slave lusting after Yulia Makhalina’s vampish Zobeide.

Parish, born and trained in Britain, danced small roles with The Royal Ballet for five years before being headhunted by the Mariinsky Ballet – a very rare example of a foreigner joining the celebrated St Petersburg company. Since then, his career has taken off, with acclaimed performances in leading roles. Parish’s guest appearance comes a week after Sergei Polunin, another ex-Royal dancer, returned to London, and days after Alina Cojocaru joined English National Ballet, following her own sudden departure from The Royal Ballet. It’s a lot of fine dancers for one company to lose.

Watching Parish now, even in this programme, there’s no doubt that he’s one who got away. His lines are lyrical and clear; he spins in the air, and flows out of the turn into a perfect pose. The jumps are high and strong, with beautifully pointed feet. Parish’s Mariinsky repertory has tended to be lyrical, but here he plays “exotic” roles, the Slave and the fantasy figure of Le Spectre de la rose. The elegance is still there, but he brings real authority to these new roles, dancing the curling lines and flourishes with attack.

In The Firebird, the Kremlin Ballet’s Alexandra Timofeeva and the Bolshoi Ballet’s Mikhail Lobukhin were emphatic but characterful. The corps dancers, perhaps embarrassed by their costumes, looked lost.

Until 20 July; box office: 020 7845 9300

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea