A huge flock of pearl white swans gliding into a lake on a glistening moonlit night- a breathtaking scene that has captivated millions of spectators around the globe every time Swan Lake has been staged over the last 135 years. This opening scene of Act 2, looks more imposing in the English National Ballet’s production at the Royal Albert Hall – the round stage, open at all sides adds a different dimension to the lake motif. This is where Derek Deane’s superb choreography departs from traditional Swan Lake productions. The round space enables the cast to face each section of the audience and provides visual depth.
Tamara Rojo, also the artistic director of the company, is the swan princess on the opening night. She brings in one of her best performances. Her otherwise petite structure is magnified by the allure of her postures. She is graceful and pure as Odette, the swan princess and dark and dazzling as Odile, the black swan. She is a diva who portrays the two characters with ease and sophistication. The vibrance of her presence pulls her out of the group of swans as she flies past lifted in air by her prince or engages in elegant ‘fouettes’ circling the space with perfect precision.
Matthew Golding- a guest artist from the Dutch National Ballet debuts with the company in this production as prince Siegfried. He is an impressive, handsome dancer whose body speaks technique. His agile flights in the air and brisk movement make up for his shortcomings of facial expression. The emotions that Rojo evoke complement the strength of technique by her counterpart to present some remarkable moments of pas de deux.
Villanous, socerer Rothbart, played by James Streeter wears huge bird like wings which he waves across the floor and runs round at each entry and before leaving the stage storming past casting an evil spell. His dappled winged costume adds to the spectacle.
The dancers of the English National Ballet have done a splendid job. Selected from dancers across different parts of the world, their performance is of the highest standard. Apart from putting together this impressive international ensemble the English National Ballet is also working tirelessly extending opportunities to young aspiring dancers generating new interests in the world of classical ballet.
Swan Lake – in the round is a production not to be missed. Audience will be dazzled by the opulence, glitter, and magnitude of the spectacle. It’s classical Swan Lake presented with a Derek Dean touch – diferent from a conventional ballet performance.