What a show! Romantic Revolution at The London Palladium was a very enjoyable and uplifting evening with extraordinary dancing on display by four dancers of the Bolshoi Ballet accompanied by the burgeoning talents of students from the London Russian Ballet School.
The format of eighteen pieces was accessible and attractive to the wide audience, whether ballet aficionados or newcomers watching dance for the very first time.
Remarkably more than 900 (very well behaved) schoolchildren from Lambeth, Brent, Westminster and West Kensington were at Monday’s show in line with the desire of the directors of the London Russian Ballet School to use their strong links with the Bolshoi Ballet to put together a show which would appeal to them as well as celebrate the beauty of dance.
The virtuoso performances by the four Bolshoi dancers, Ekaterina Krysanova, Semyon Chudin, Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov were thrilling and always sufficient. One never felt short-changed, they were at the heart of the show, not a token presence although the students at the London Russian Ballet School would get their turns to show what they could do, to dance with them.
The choreography was cleverly managed for the School so even quite new students were able to give a satisfying turn, for example, the pretty piece that was Romance to the music of Shostakovich. Straight afterwards though we were back to the virtuoso skills of the incredible Bolshoi and Raymonda, performed by a stunning Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov.
It would be fair to say that Vladislav Lantratov was a huge hit with the audience, his leaps and agility, his confident air of ‘I’m good and I know I am’, was irresistible. Yes, he is good. And every time he appeared on stage a frisson of admiration would circulate among the younger female members of audience.
A standout performance was ‘Angel’, choreographed by D. Antipov. The blind girl was danced by Natalie Carter and the Angel by Mr Anyipov, the choreographer and also a soloist of the Krasnoyarsk Opera and Ballet Theatre. It was performed beautifully, with great feeling.
Semyon Chudin, a leading man Principal in the Bolshoi, was an elegant, lithe figure, a Prince dressed in black velvet, expressing yearning and grace. Such a beautiful pleasure to watch.
The music was played live by the Saul Quartet and the Zoe Saubat Ensemble. Some of these musicians are young professionals, some at music college, two were still at school. The programme of music ran from Tchaikovsky to Philip Glass to Vivaldi to Debussy, all played with sensitivity as well as versatility.
The costumes were gorgeous and the lighting by Roz Malyon produced a skilled background of atmosphere for every set.
There was a fascination that grew as confidence in the quality of the show progressed, in watching the differences between the students and the Bolshoi dancers. A reminder of how hard what ballet dancers aspire to do is and what a stunning achievement is first rate dance.
The finale of the evening was stunning in agility and excitement. The Bolshoi performers make what they do look easy, the students know it is not. There was a moment, near the end of the evening, when a young student dancer was rapt, standing in the wings watching Ekaterina Krysanova perform with extraordinary dexterity and skill, the product of years of work and discipline. It was a beautiful moment, what it was all about.
Review by Marian Kennedy
Ekaterina Krysanova, Semyon Chudin, Maria Alexandrova and Vladislav Lantratov of the Bolshoi Ballet with students of London Russian Ballet School present:
London Palladium, Argyll Street, London W1F 7TF
Monday 18th September 2017, 7.30pm