As a long-time fan of the ballet Swan Lake, I eagerly anticipated sharing it with my children (aged five and nine), at the English National Ballet’s My First Ballet series.  These shortened versions of traditional ballets aim to introduce young audiences (3 years plus) to classical ballet in a fun and accessible way. For us, it mostly succeeded.

The audience at the 5pm performance was – not unexpectedly – 95% mums and little girls, so my five-year-old son’s game of spotting dads and boys was rather short-lived! There was an audible buzz of excitement throughout the auditorium, which the young ones minimised as the lights dimmed and their necks craned forward in anticipation. “Hello!” The greeting came from our jolly and personable narrator for the afternoon, who stood centre stage in modern dress and gym boots.  In wide-eyed wonder and an animated voice, she led us through a story of friendship and loyalty, love and forgiveness.  Without being intrusive or obstructing the dancing, she helped transfix the young audience to the stage action.  Top marks! (more…)

Advertisements

An opportunity to see a live transmission at Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse of one of the great 19th century ballets, Swan Lake,  performed by the Bolshoi Ballet.

At the palace, the royal family and their guests are gathered for Prince Siegfried’s birthday celebrations. In a majestic ceremony, Siegfried is made a knight; young girls try to attract his attention, as he must choose a wife during the ball. Overcome by the sudden awareness of his future responsibilities, he escapes into the night and meets a strange flock of swans by a magical lake.  White swan by day, human by night, the beautiful Odette awaits an oath of true love to break the curse. The great legend of the enigmatic woman/swan is one of the most romantic of classical ballets, appropriately set in an era of courtly romance and characterised by elegance, style and harmony.  With Tchaikovsky’s famous, lyrical score, Swan Lake depicts the tragic love between Princess Odette and Prince Siegfried, and will no doubt be performed to perfection by the unparalleled virtuosity of Russia’s great Bolshoi Ballet lead by Anna Nikulina and Alexander Volchkov. This universal and enchanting masterpiece of love, deception and drama is a must.

Date:  Sunday 25th January 2015, 3.00pm

Venue:  Phoenix Picturehouse, 57 Walton Street, Oxford OX2 6AE

Book online here or call 0871 902 5736

Running time: 135 minutes

Coming up this week, another visit to Oxford’s New Theatre by the Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia, this year bringing performances of two of the great Tchaikovsky ballets, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty.  Formed in 1981, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation through regular touring. (more…)

The 18 years since the first performance of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake have seen changes to the social and legal environment for homosexual relationships.  There is still plenty of prejudice among some people, but the open portrayal of a same sex relationship on stage lacks the power to shock the sort of audience that goes to Sadler’s Wells today.  All the more credit then to Matthew Bourne, for a creation that still stands as a strong dramatic dance work, and which tells a story on two levels; the narrative and the psychological. (more…)

Swan Lake performed by the English Youth Ballet was a life-enhancing experience for the dancers and for the parents, teachers and general public who very nearly filled the New Theatre for three performances 21st and 22nd September.   Directed by Janet Lewis MBE and  reinforced by six professional dancers who were also coaches,  more than a hundred children  aged  between eight and eighteen displayed poise, confidence and impressive discipline.    The boys had crisp rhythm and showmanship . The girls held their heads high while displaying skilled technique. (more…)

English Youth Ballet presents three performances of its brand new production of Swan Lake at Oxford’s New Theatre. It promises to be a traditional production but with particular emphasis on the rivalry between the seductive evil Black Swan Odile and the beautiful but vulnerable White Swan Odette, as they compete for the affections of the Prince.

English Youth Ballet’s professional principal dancers lead the pageantry of a large cast of up to 100 young talented regional dancers in this highly acclaimed Company led by Director Janet Lewis MBE. (more…)

The Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake, broadcast live from the Royal Opera House to the Phoenix Cinema, Oxford. 23 October 2012.

As Zenaida Yanowsky slowly unfolds her leg in a high développé devant, she seems to float for a moment before she rises and subsides, caught and supported by Nehemiah Kish as she falls backwards.   This is a very trusting partnership between Kish, an elegant dancer with beautiful line, and the lyrical Yanowsky.   Kish’s Siegfried is a sincere prince, who loves Odette, but has no chance against Yanowsky’s Odile:  her fouettés and virtuoso steps embody deceit, and she suffuses the most ordinary step, such as a posé turn, with cunning. (more…)