Swan Lake, Kings Theatre, review: ‘Performed with grace’ 

editorial image

Swan Lake came to the Kings Theatre, Southsea, with fantastic dancers and musicians – and their impressive skills galore. 

This 1876 timeless classic, brought to the Portsmouth stage by the Russian State Ballet and Opera House, was performed with grace. 

As the audience were taking their seats, the instantly recognisable score, by Russian composer Tchaikovsky, filled the hall and the curtains were drawn. 

We were greeted by a troupe of dancers grinning from ear-to-ear, as they began the ballet against the backdrop of a Russian ballroom. The solo and paired dancers performed silently and elegantly, holding arabesques for what seemed like an age and landing leaps without a single thud.

The costumes were well suited to the time-period and did not take away from the performance, but instead accentuated the dancers’ perfectly-held frames. 

Emotions were not hidden throughout the performance. Although there was obviously no speech during the ballet, the story was upheld but with occasional doubts about what was going on. 

It took a while before we met one of the protagonists, but when the white swan eventually entered the stage she danced gracefully, highlighting her heartbreak in every move and facial expression. 

And when the stage suddenly darkened for the entrance of the black swan, she was as stern and powerful as everyone hoped. Staring into the eye of the audience, her cold-hearted expression was piercing.

As she completed more than 15 pirouettes in a row and landed without even faltering, she won a hearty cheer from the audience – which even made her crack a smile.

The Russian State Ballet and Opera House reminded us of the chilling but romantic classic by keeping it simple, which won over the audience. Although no flowers were thrown on stage, the audience left loving the classic they forgot they adored.