LAST EDITED ON 22-Oct-99 AT 05:43 AM (GMT)
I also think that this is a very successful triple bill offered by the English National Ballet. To me the highlight was the first work - the Kingdom of the Shades scene from "La Bayadere" staged by Natalia Makarova.
How gratifying it was to see Agnes Oaks dancing again on an English stage after her injury early this year (she danced in galas in Greece and Tokyo with Edur in the past 2 months) and in such a glorious technical shape, managing superbly those fiendishly difficult multiple pirouettes and pique turns of Nikiya. Oaks had the right spiritual quality, lending an air of mysticism to this ballerina role.
Furthermore, it is always a pleasure to see Oaks' partnership with Thomas Edur - one of the most celebrated partnerships of our time. Edur was also on glorious form on this occasion as Solor, dancing as nobly as ever. I shall always remember those 5 double assemble turns (a signature step of Nureyev) that Edur executed so impeccably in the coda.
I was also impressed by the well-drilled corps de ballet. Monica Perego and Daria Klimentova shone in the first and third shades solo.
On the following night, I travelled down to Southampton again just to see this Bayadere, danced by Daria Klimentova and Dmitri Gruzdyev. This cast was also accomplished both emotionally and technically.
Glen Tetley's "Sphinx" was magnificently danced on the opening night by Klimentova in the title role, Edur as Oedipus, and Gruzdyev as Anubis. There were some stunning lifts in the choreography, e.g. Klimentova's body snaking round Edur in a lift in a pas de deux, and later balancing on his right shoulder. Klimentova seemed to have very flexible joints. There was also a very exciting solo impressively danced by Gruzdyev. The silver metallic sculptural set by Rouben Ter-Artutunian was eye-catching.
I am not particularly fond of MacMillan's choreography for the ensemble in "Rite of Spring". I wish ENB could have staged this ballet with the original choreography by Nijinksy as the Joffrey Ballet has done. Still I was impressed by Tamara Rojo's sharpness in her dancing, conveying an air of desperation as the Chosen Victim.