This January Moscow City Ballet, one of Russia’s most renowned ballet companies, dominated the Theatre Royal, leaving the audience in absolute awe after performing an enchanting version of Sleeping Beauty.
The energy of the dancers on stage was amplified by the incredibly talented musicians of the Moscow Ballet Orchestra. As the curtains opened a procession of ballerinas glided on-stage and the music, celebrating the birth of the princess, began.
Transported to the Royal Palace in the fairytale kingdom ruled by King Florestan and his Queen, the first performing soloist, the Lilac Fairy, took to the stage with grace and elegance – much expected during a ballet performance. Whilst the story of Sleeping Beauty would normally be largely dependent on the nuances of the dialogue, the acting ability of these dancers allowed the story to be told with ease through their movement and expression. The sheer skill of the dancers was breathtaking: during the group routines the dancers remained synchronised in movement, expression and posture, and it was this unity in movement which added to the magical grace of the performance. During solo performances the beautiful costumes sparkled, as the dancers crossed the stage using the space to their full advantage.
I was sceptical about the success of a Disney recreation onstage. However, with every detail of the performance having been thoroughly thought through, the Moscow City Ballet definitely recreated the magic of Disney. Not only was there a large focus on the dancers but their costumes and the staging were sheer works of art, which contained extensive intricate detail. Each of the costumes displayed embroidery in a unique style symbolic of the character. The set changes were also incredible, beginning with a room inside the palace, moving outside to the forest and having the final scene in the palace ballroom. In this scene which celebrated the wedding of the prince and princess there was a peculiar twist, which added to the splendour of the performance: the great ball was attended by other fairytale characters amongst which resided Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. This incorporation worked well, further arousing the audience’s attention. These characters did solo performances reproducing the flexibility and dancing en pointe as many of the characters of Sleeping Beauty did.
By Priyal Dadhania