English National Ballet’s production of Le Corsaire makes a sparkly post-Christmas treat, overflowing with colourful costumes, pirates, sumptuous scenery and dance party pieces. The company dance it with gusto, from swooning odalisques to vengeful villains.
Anna-Marie Holmes’ production of this 19th-century warhorse has been specially revised for ENB. It’s a brisk mix of dance setpieces, kidnaps and rescues, with a tutu’d vision scene thrown in for good measure. Designer Bob Ringwood is the hero of the production, conjuring up an Arabian Nights fantasy of moonlit vistas and glittering palaces.
As the heroine Medora, Alina Cojocaru gives the flash steps exquisite finish, while romping gleefully through the melodramatic plot. Vadim Muntagirov, a princely dancer, finds his inner swashbuckler as her pirate lover. As the slave Ali, Junor Souza carries off the firework steps and shiny trousers with aplomb. Yonah Acosta gives the villain Birbanto real dash, with snarling flourish to his leaps and turns.
This kind of ballet relies on swagger, and the company deliver. Village women swing patterned skirts, led by the flirty Nancy Osbaldeston. The corps de ballet are assured in the patterns of the vision scene. Pirate hordes clash swords in time to the rum-ti-tum tunes, wearing their moustaches with pride.
Until 19 January. Box office 020 7845 9300. Touring until 15 February – dates from www.ballet.org.uk