The Snow Queen, The Coliseum, London

2.00

Michael Corder's The Snow Queen is glittering but bland. Adapting Hans Christian Andersen's tale for English National Ballet, he has chosen sparkling Prokofiev music with traditional designs and classical steps. He gives the dancers plenty of technical challenges, but not much to get their teeth into.

Created in 2007, the work was planned as traditional fairy-tale ballet: three acts, lots of dancing. Andersen's tale has been adjusted. Kay and Gerda are young adults rather than children. His heart is still frozen by a splinter from a magic mirror, she still sets out to rescue him from the Snow Queen's icy kingdom. The Snow Queen herself becomes more actively malevolent, jealous of Kay and Gerda's love.

The magic mirror shatters in a prologue. Once infected, Kay goes from idyllic-young-love duets with Gerda to sullen tantrums, before the Snow Queen lures him away. Yet Corder gives the story little dramatic weight. There are a few mime gestures, a change of tone. The storytelling is in a hurry to get to the dancing – which is clean and academic, without being individual.

As the Snow Queen, Daria Klimentova snaps into arabesque or whirls through fast steps. Mark Bailey dresses her in a fur-trimmed cloak and spiky Russian headdress. Her technique is implacable. Corder aims for scintillating, hard-edged brilliance, but his Snow Queen lacks the icy blast of winter.

Most of the music comes from Prokofiev's The Stone Flower, arranged by Julian Philips. The new story is neatly tied in, but there's a shortage of momentum – particularly with Gavin Sutherland's sluggish conducting.

A different Kay might lift Corder's ballet. Yat-Sen Chang is a strong technician but an unyielding dancer. He forces his dancing and his smile. Kay's emotional journey becomes blank.

Crystal Costa, his Gerda, is much fresher. Her lines are strikingly soft; she flows around Chang in their duets. She makes an eager, outgoing heroine.

Corder's best choreography comes in the character work. The Gypsies have stamping, folk-edged numbers. Elena Glurdjidze makes the most of the Gypsy Girl, with sharp footwork and gleeful character. Corder's Reindeer is endearingly silly in body tights and antlers, giving a little wriggle when Gerda strokes his back. Max Westwell is bouncily in character, kicking up his heels.

To 17 January (0871 911 0200)

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