Nuñez cogently highlighted the heroine’s shyness and built the whole drama around it. Her Tatiana is not just an asocial bookworm, but someone who takes refuge behind the cover of a book because she does not feel confident to interact with the rest of the world. The outcome of such reading is breathtaking and bestows vibrancy to all the ensuing actions.
Svetlana Zakharova as Princess Aurora. The Bolshoi Ballet in The Sleeping Beauty. Royal Opera House (July – August 2013). Photo Foteini Christofilopoulou.
Zakharova was bred for the role of Aurora, her superb control of balance with exquisite line, especially in arabesque, and the delicate radiance of her port de bras are ideally suited to the extreme test posed by the Rose Adage, which she accomplished with confident, elegant authority. Zakharova convinced us to believe in a young princess half her age (she is 34) but enjoying all the attendant maturity and skill of Russia’s prima ballerina.
This is Canterna’s show. Her (mostly) barefoot Juliet bursts with excitement, passion and expression, delivered with a cocktail of personality and movement that mixes a bit of Barbie, a quirky dollop of Lady Gaga, a touch of burlesque, the length of Sylvie Guillem’s limbs and the hyper-flexible spine of an Olympic gymnast.
Alison McWhinney in Giselle. English National Ballet Emerging Dancer Competition, March 2013. Photo by Foteini Christofilopoulou.
McWhinney’s dress fluttered as she glided elegantly from one glissade to another, plumes of taffeta rising as she did so. Her slow and delicate arm movements added to the lilting atmosphere. A memorable image was Nathan Young spinning McWhinney round with ease as her body and arms hung like a rag doll and her leg was extended in the air.
“Evgenia Obraztsova (formerly of the Mariinsky Ballet) preened herself, admiring her arms and wrists, smiling delightedly. Her partner, Vladislav Lantratov, ran around her, catching her as she swooned.”