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La Bayadere at the London Coliseum

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Hi all,

I saw the Bolshoi's production of La Bayadere at the Coliseum, and although far from an expert in these things, I thought I'd let you know how I found the production.

To start with, this is another ballet that has been 'revived' from its original staging, with costume and set designs inspired by the original 1877 designs. Now while I don't have a problem with reconstructions, there was at least one dance/character that should not have been revived in the old style - a group of 6 children wearing black tights and long black gloves, dancing in a very non-pc style. Drop the gloves and tights (imo). The designs were a mixed batch, with some fabrics used seeming too heavy for the designs.

I am more familiar with the staging by Makarova on the Royal Ballet, and so expected a longer final act in the temple, but aside from that most of the dancing was beautiful. Maria Alexandrova dazzled as Gamzatti, handling the bravura dancing in Act II brilliantly and beautifully. Nikolai Tsiskardidze as Solor dominated the stage in his solos, and made an elegant counterpoint in his partnering with Alexandrova.

The only disappointment of the evening for me was Maria Allash as Nikiya. Her frame is so skinny, that where the mime requires the arms held up and slightly out (in supplication of the gods), her elbows are too prominent and angular and ruin the line. I also found that her dancing just wasn't as strong as Alexandrova's, and in the Kingdom of Shades act she seemed unable to hold a couple of balances, slipped off point early, and even had a fumbled hold with Solor. This is not what I've come to expect from the Bolshoi. I haven't seen Allash dance in anything else, so I don't know whether she was just simply not performing at her best, but I was disappointed with her. The role of Nikiya, while missing out on some of Gamzatti's flasier dances, still requires strength, poise and musicality from its dancer, and to be honest I did wonder whether Allash would actually still be dancing by the end of the ballet.

The 'dance with drum' showed Bolshoi dancers at their athletic best, reminiscent of the Grigorovich directorship, and was exhausting just to watch. The speed and energy with which it was performed was just simply amazing. Chinara Alizade dancing as Manu (with the jug) was a delight.

Of course the highlight of the evening was watching the near perfect corps in the Kingdom of Shades. Yes, there were one or two wobbles, but they were still amazing to watch, as they made their way across the stage, each one appearing at the top of the slope, before working their way to the stage. This is a stunningly beautiful entrance for the corps, and they didn't disappoint, with near perfect timings.

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