St Petersburg Ballet Theatre

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United Kingdom     2011  2009 2008 2007 2006 2005  . . .  2002 
STILL NO sign in the UK of the fabulous Russian ballerina Irina Kolesnikova.

France is having all the luck and her Aurora, the unfortunate Princess who goes to sleep for 100 years instead of marrying her Prince, was worth the recent trip through the Chunnel.

Anything less than perfection from Kolesnikova is profoundly worrying. One fluffed step is rare, two a lurch in Earth\'s centre of gravity but the overall pure joy of Kolesnikova\'s interpretation is not only a true reflection of some of the most beautiful and evocative music Tchaikovsky wrote but an affirmation of the power and joy of dance.

The joy was somewhat muted, though, on her first appearance, her coming-of-age celebrations. Kolesnikova, one of the freshest exponents of the classical ballet genre, appeared mannered, emphasising unnecessary and imposed style at the expense of keeping time to the music.

Things improved no end when, in the Woodland Act II, she appears as a vision to a lovelorn Prince Florimund (the Kirov Ballet\'s Evgeny Ivanchenko) who is not only an exciting and extrovert dancer but whose dark handsomeness perfectly complements Kolesnikova\'s blonde allure.

The combustible outcome of their relationship seems inevitable from the outset but however explosive a coming together we eagerly anticipated, all we got was a damp squib.

Everybody in the world knows the Sleeping Beauty is woken by a kiss from her adoring Prince. Not in this version she isn\'t. A platonic hand on sleepy shoulder does it for this Aurora and left a niggly sense of being cheated.

Dmitri Rudachenko and Alla Bocharova were a delightful Bluebird partnership, a highlight of Aurora\'s wedding celebrations and a delight to watch.

Best of all though, Kolesnikova pulled off one of her best performances in the evening\'s finale, her marriage duet with her dashing Prince. A world-class triumph.

Irina Kolesnikova\'s reputation was built in this country, we watched in wonder as this colossal talent blossomed year after year. Hurry back to us, Kolesnikova, we deserve you.

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