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Friday, January 4

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Reviews of the English National Ballet.

The Guardian

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Not that there isn’t plenty to admire in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake. It was originally made in 1997 for English National Ballet to perform in the round at the Royal Albert Hall, with an army of swans filling the arena, but this is the slimmed-down version for proscenium theatre. It is easier to tour, even if it is not as exciting and occasionally you can see that there are too many bodies and steps for the size of the stage. But its busyness is also a plus. Swan Lake may be a classic but it is not without its weaknesses..... 

Broadway World

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Jurgita Dronina is a standout as she takes on the roles of Odette and Odile. She brings out the diversity in the roles; with delicate vulnerability and innocent fragility as Odette and vampish allure and seductive movement as Odette. She demonstrates vivid musicality in her movements, feeling every step and note of music. She has beautifully expressive arms and power in her jumps, elongating her neckline elegantly as Odette. She is also a very good actor; as Odile, in particular, she is a consummate seductress, with an evil smile and perfectly executed fouettés.

The Arts Desk

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There isn’t much that can be done, in a traditional production, about the over-preponderance of scene-setting in Act I. All that merry skirt-shaking and peasant bonhomie, when all we want is for the story to start. That said, the pas de trois was deliciously well done by the opening night cast, Julia Conway’s variation bubbling over with cheeky character, Alison McWhinney’s a drift of thistledown, and Daniel McCormick’s double turns so triumphantly placed that they could have sent us home happy two hours early.

The Daily Telegraph

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I know of no finer traditional Swan Lake than English National Ballet’s, which is particularly remarkable given that it was not even created for a conventional theatre. The work of former Royal Ballet principal Derek Deane, it was conceived in 1997 as an in-the-round staging for the Royal Albert Hall. Only in 2000 did Deane retool it as a touring production for conventional theatres – one that, almost 20 years on, has never looked better.

 

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An appraisal of the year in dance by Robert Gottlieb for Observer.

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It would be hard to imagine a less distinguished performance than that of the City Ballet Board of Directors—first, never clarifying what led to Martins’ departure (there was an anonymous letter to the School whose contents have never been made public); then hiring a search firm to identify his successor. A search firm? How could outsiders to the dance community have the faintest clue about what it takes to be artistic director of a major ballet company, let alone a company so highly specific in its requirements? From the start, the search firm was a joke: There were never more than half a dozen people remotely qualified for the job, and give or take a few mavericks, just about everybody knowledgeable about the situation could have come up with that list in ten minutes.......

 

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A review of the English National Ballet by Tatiana Rathelot for Bachtrack.

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Dronina is a complex, multi-layered and incredibly expressive swan: it is fascinating to see how varied, and how strong the emotions her emotions are as Odette when she first notices Siegfried. She is less melancholic than other principals (such as Alina Cojocaru, also performing this season), but conveys a mix of fear, first date-like nervousness and an astonishing (and scary) amount of love that was waiting to be poured onto that one brave person. It is not just the technical precision and the long lean arabesques that make Dronina’s character memorable – though they can easily be noticed by those more concerned with the technique – but how her interpretation of Odette gives a deeper meaning to the technically challenging movements.......

 

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