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Bristol Russian Ballet School And Youth Ballet Swan Lake The Playhouse Theatre

Showing what a treat one of the Bristol Russian Ballet School’s productions are, the theatre proudly posted a ‘full house’ sign outside and we were glad we had booked early. The school’s end of year production gives all their students a chance to showcase their enviable talents and Swan Lake, with its beautiful and haunting music by Tchaikovsky, a story that mixes romance and tragedy with a handful of spells and sorcery, is the perfect classical ballet.

For this afternoon The Playhouse was transformed into a mini-Covent Garden by the addition of a rich, red velvet curtain that rose majestically on Act 1, Scene 1, the Palace Courtyard. Stunningly costumed, even the littlest ballerinas a froth of tulle and sparkling sequins, the stage was a mass of colour, except for the Jester in black and white. We loved Jack Thomas as the jester who danced superbly with a nice hint of humour playing out the jester’s cheekiness.

Rachel Hernon as Odette/Odile and Dean Rushton as Prince Siegfried were the guest principal dancers and I can’t remember when I’ve seen a better performance capturing the emotion of the ballet and making the technical execution seem simple – this is what the young students aspire to and they are undoubtedly dedicated enough to make this happen.

Nathaniel Lillington was a wonderfully evil Von Rothbart; a faultless performance in his fantastic black costume and as a testament to his command of the character I’m afraid to say he got a small wave of boos a la the pantomime villain at the curtain call!

All the dancing was of an incredibly high standard, and as so many were involved it’s not possible to mention them all but our notables were the dance of the cygnets by Lucy Hind, Harriet Masterman, Maya Kirk and Pippa Cook, beautiful precise footwork and timing, and Georgia Smart for her exuberant Spanish Dance, supported ably by Makary Crosby, Aineias Arango, Barnaby Westrup and Josiah Davey.

Jacquie Vowles

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