Canberra Theatre May 5th and 6th 2014
Reviewed by Bill Stephens
The Imperial Russian Ballet Company annually undertakes extensive international tours, including annual visits to Australia, presenting ambitious productions of popular classical ballets with its troupe of some 40 dancers drawn from all over Russia. Over the years the company has built up a loyal following in Australia, especially among those centres which would otherwise not experience live ballet productions on this scale.Because the company depends on attracting large audiences for its very existence, its Artistic Director, Gediminas Taranda has become a master at staging spectacular productions which are not only well danced and respect the Russian Ballet tradition, but which are also highly entertaining . This exuberant production of “Don Quixote” is a particularly spectacular example of Taranda’s imaginative staging at its best.
|The Russian Imperial Ballet Company|
|Lina Seveliova and Nariman Bezkhanov|
Lina Seveliova is a beautiful dancer, every inch the archetypal Russian ballerina, and perfectly cast as Kitri. Animated and confident, she performed the showy choreography and spectacular lifts effortlessly and with panache. Her Basilio, Nariman Bezkhanov, on the other hand, seemed to be having an off-night. In the first two acts he seemed disinterested, his dancing was lacklustre and his acting perfunctory at best. For these acts he strangely eschewed the socks worn by the other male dancers, to display distracting ankle tattoos. However in the third act he rallied and for the climactic pas de deux, white tights now covering the tattoos, provided flashes of the expected brilliance.
There was plenty of fine dancing from the rest of the company however, especially from Alexandru Balan who leads the male corps of lavishly costumed toreadors in a spectacular display of cape twirling, Anna Pashkova who uses her flashing eyes and remarkably flexible back to great effect as a fiery gypsy street dancer, and from Dinu Blmagu as the virile, energetic Gypsy Chief.
Told in three-acts, this delightfully entertaining production by the Russian Imperial Ballet of “Don Quixote”, provides a satisfying evening of spectacle and excellent dancing in the best Russian ballet tradition.This review also appears on the Australian Arts Review website www.artsreview.com.au