English National Ballet’s production of Swan Lake is entirely conventional. And perhaps, with such a classic piece, this is what audiences demand – after all, the magnificent sight of ballerinas in white tutus moving in unison is one of classical ballet’s most iconic images.
Artistic Director, Tamara Rojo takes a back seat in choreographer, Derek Deane’s restaging, and the company seems less well-drilled than we have come to expect of ENB under her leadership.
Ken Saruhashi makes an elegant and willowy Prince Siegfried, while Fernanda Oliveira’s Odette (along with one or two others) seems a little wary of the flooring, never quite taking flight.
The opening to act four (swans by the lake, all moonlight and mist) is genuinely beautiful. Junor Souza provides a Rothbart with impressive stage presence (half man, half bird – striking as both).
Otherwise, Erik Woolhouse’s quadruple cabriole devant, bursting with athleticism, is one of few memories that will endure. (Woolhouse shines again in act three’s Spanish dance).
If you are new to ballet, this production features some of the most iconic scenes in classical dance. It is also a treat to hear Tchaikovsky’s famous score played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic.
If you were hoping for something with a little twist on the traditional classic, for you English National Ballet will have better nights. Ms Rojo will make sure of it.
Swan Lake is at The Palace Theatre, Manchester from 5-8 October 2022.