St Petersburg Ballet Theatre

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Japan     2011 2006 
After a seven year break the Konstantin Tachkin Saint Petersburg Ballet Theatre has returned to Japan with a performance of “Swan Lake”. Irina Kolesnikova dances the role of the White Swan a part that she has performed more than anyone else in the world. I have seen the 2006 DVD recording of hers so I already had an idea of what to expect. However, this performance turned out to be incomparable with what I had seen previously. As the ballerina herself admits, “Since 2006 I have been constantly evolving”. She performed the role brilliantly. No doubt, the members of the audience who had seen her in Japan in 2004 felt the difference even more acutely.

The staging of the ballet was striking in that primarily it seems to have been conceived in order to give the White Swan the opportunity to dance. It is as if her graceful back arched to the maximum degree and her whole body from her back to the tip of her toes traces a convex line that better than anything else delineates the contours of the White Swan. There is nothing superfluous in her movements.

As she goes through her steps, her movements are so smooth and graceful that it seems doing them is as natural to her as breathing. After all, she has danced the role of the White Swan more than seven hundred times! Each movement has a meaning; movements express feelings eloquently. In the personae of Odette and Odile she is completely diverse as if two different people are dancing the roles. It is simple stunning to see! Kolesnikova is especially marvellous in the Odile role. One moment she is rejecting the prince with her haughtiness, the next she has him under control by presenting herself as a figure of misfortune. It looks as if the prince is bewitched by her magic spells. She is like a dancing actress!

Oleg Yaromkin dances the role of the Prince. He is a handsome young man with an elegant figure and long, well proportioned legs and succeeded well in portraying a prince overwhelmed by Odile’s influence. If you look at the average age of the company, it is still young which accounts for the inconsistencies discernable in the corps de ballet, though it was obvious that they were trying to dance in the academic style. I formed the impression that I had definitely seen a classical version of “Swan Lake”.

It is a shame that I have not had the opportunity to see this company for seven years.

We look forward to their next visit to Japan.

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