In London, ENB tend to dance their huge Swan Lake, the vast in-the-round production Derek Deane created for the Royal Albert Hall. This time, they're dancing Deane's smaller version, created for conventional theatres. And very satisfying it is too; a picture-book world with strong performances, particularly the Swan Queen and Prince of Daria Klimentová and Vadim Muntagirov. Peter Farmer's traditional designs frame the lake with delicately cut-out trees.
Klimentová is a dancer with sharp, clear attack. She shows us the softness of the heroine, the white swan Odette, through the sustained quality of her phrasing: the steps unfold in long, smooth lines. As the black swan, her crispness becomes gleeful. She pounces on the steps, and on her prince.
Muntagirov, ENB's young star, has splendid technique and growing stage authority. His jumps soar, his line stretched cleanly in the air, while he purrs smoothly through repeated turns. His partnering has developed impressively since his first Swan Lake last summer. He's now a secure support for Klimentová, lifting her tenderly. This is a blossoming partnership. Muntagirov's youth makes him an innocent, blundering into a fairy tale, drawn in by Klimentová's stronger sense of drama.
The company dance with warmth, footwork and upper bodies neat and buoyant. Laurretta Summerscales stands out in the first act pas de quatre, flitting through the intricate steps. The corps of swans flock smoothly into their patterns.
As Muntagirov's prince passes through his court, he's greeted by a ripple of bows. The peasant girls tidy their skirts before whirling into a dance. Most touchingly, Michael Coleman's Tutor is both a sweet comic character and a real person. Bumbling on, he notices the prince's sadness – and quietly steps back, sympathetic and suddenly tactful.
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