Ballet review: Russian Seasons of XXI Century, London Coliseum
Wednesday 17 July 2013
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
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 3 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 4 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 5 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
Zayn Malik releases first solo song 'I Won't Mind' in 'Zaughty' collaboration with Naughty Boy
Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
James May hints he will not continue on Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Menstruation-themed photo series artist 'censored by Instagram' says images are to demystify taboos around periods
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers