Theatre Royal: Moscow Royal Ballet
MOSCOW Ballet visit the Theatre Royal every spring and their Saturday matinee and evening performances are sell-outs. I’m not surprised because this is one of the highlights of the theatrical year.
Everything about Moscow Ballet is class and perfection. The leads come from the Bolshoi, the set is old-world musical theatre of scene-cloths and tabs, the costumes are beyond stunning and the production is second to none.
And one of the great things about ballet is that, by and large, the storyline is familiar. Sleeping Beauty needs no synopsis and everyone – especially the children in the house – knows where the story is going. Sleeping Beauty is a simple narrative, full of stock characters like hapless parents, happy servants, an evil crone, a dashing prince and, of course, a happy-ever-after ending.
It’s all about the dancing and, of course, the dancing is beyond perfection. The Corps de Ballet is better drilled than a drill-sergeant in the Red Army. Every hand gesture is the same height, every head turns the same way, every pointed toe is the same distance and every eye is on the same target. One of the delights is the effortless establishment of patterns and wheels as dancers enter and exit at will. Were there really twenty-plus dancers on the Theatre Royal stage? Yes. Did they all have room? Yes. Were all the performances perfect? Yes. Any one of this corps easily fit into the principal line-up.
The principals line-up comes from the Bolshoi and are superb. Unfortunately, the programme does not give the names of the actual dancers. The young princess Aurora – destined to become Sleeping Beauty – is the ultimate music-box ballerina and captures the joy of a young and beautiful girl along with the aloofness of a princess as she is courted and lifted by her suitors.
Prince Florimund is the dashing prince and deeply romantic outsider that simply bounds about the stage creating an image of the ultimate hero. He sees Aurora as the perfect woman and knows that he is destined to be her lover. There are people today that aren’t overly happy with that narrative but that’s another story.
The kiss, of course, is the climax of the story. Every child in the audience knows the outcome and is delighted to see Aurora and Florimund celebrate their love with a pas de deux that is a real show-stopper as Aurora, en pointe, defies the laws of gravity and physics with as graceful a stance as is possible.
This is what we look for in ballet: grace, movement, delicacy and the ability of the bodily form to express emotions that we can only guess at. We reach the knife-edge between the magic of fantasy and the nub of reality and we want the magic to triumph. This is fairytale land where magic enables us to go home knowing that everything will turn out for the better in the end.
For two hours, Moscow Royal Ballet gives us the space to believe in magic.
Pat McEvoy’s reviews, as published in the Waterford News & Star