The enduring charm of Sleeping Beauty

If you are a fan of ballet you will have seen at least one production of ‘Swan Lake’; if you are not a fan, go see it and you will be. It’s the old old story of love triumphing over evil, and possibly the best known and beloved ballet of all time. When performed by some of the most gifted and artistic dancers in the world, the words ‘breathtaking’ and ‘unforgettable’ are defined in glorious new ways.

The Moscow City Ballet has been touring the UK for almost 20 years; it is back again this year with its impressive repertoire that includes ‘Swan Lake’ in the original version, with no modernisation or ‘improvements’ by contemporary artistes.

The ballet, with Tchaikovsky’s sublime music, Victor Smirnov Golovanov’s inspired choreography and the remarkable artistry of the dancers, tells the story of a young man who falls in love with a princess. She is turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, but restored to her human form by the power of love.

That is, of course, a major oversimplification, but it’s enough to go on with. The production is a dazzling presentation of magnificent costumes and dancers who make the incredibly hard work of ballet look effortless. Backed by the Moscow City Ballet orchestra, the troop led by principal dancers Alevtina Lapshina and Liliya Oryekhova is sheer joy to watch.

Moscow City Ballet was founded by Smirnov-Golovanov, an acclaimed soloist with the fabled Bolshoi Ballet who decided to form his own company and succeeded most admirably. The ballet company has enthralled audiences worldwide, and the UK is no exception. Following its performances at the Lyceum in Crewe, ‘Swan Lake’ will be going on to the Opera House in Manchester and in February to the Richmond Theatre, in Richmond Upon Thames.