Saturday, 24 January 2015

English National Ballet: Swan Lake

As part of our Christmas present, my grandma - the formidable Grandma Val - took mum and I to see English National Ballet's production of Swan Lake at the London Coliseum in Covent Garden. The closest I'd ever come to seeing ballet performed prior to this was watching Black Swan, and I've only ever attended one ballet taster lesson (influenced by watching the aforementioned film. I loved the class but didn't have the time to take it up). So, I was really excited and eager to experience my first ballet production.

Obviously all the dancing looked amazing, but what struck me was the elegance. It really is something you have to see to truly appreciate. The dancers had an ethereal quality to them, and the choreography was perfect. At one point they really resembled a flock of swans in flight - it was seamless how they moved into a V shape. I was in constant amazement, but this was one of the most outstanding moments to me.

The elegance of the dancing was assisted by the beautiful backdrops. The scenery for the first 'act' - I don't know if that's the correct terminology - was a woodland. It looked three-dimensional and just breath-taking; the colours were green and dark and somewhat mystical, with a huge full moon in the middle. The other most commonly used backdrop looked like the inside of a royal court, and was more vibrant. I felt utterly transported.

London Coliseum
Unfortunately I couldn't take a good picture inside the theatre and you're not allowed to take photos during the performance, so I have taken this picture from The Standard's website.

I knew the women would be lithe, but I was amazed at the size of the male ballet dancers' quads (can you tell I workout). That said, given how they could leap though the air, it made sense that they would have such powerful leg muscles. I was also surprised at how, during the dance routines during the court scenes - again, not sure if that's the right term - the other dancers would take the role of courtiers being entertained. For instance, they would sit at the side in groups, and one would offer the other revellers a drink. They would also pretend to chat and react to the dancers. I was amazed at how multi-layered the performance was - in truth, I thought ballet was just dancing, however there also was an element of acting too.

My favourite composer is Tchaikovsky, so listening to his music all evening was also a great pleasure. It has made me enjoy his works even more, having heard them as part of a Swan Lake performance. I still envisage the dancers when listening to them now, and imagine what was happening in the scene at the time.

It really was an unbeatable experience and I'm hoping I can see more English National Ballet performances  in the future!

No comments:

Post a Comment