I’ve always wanted to see a live ballet, and a couple of years ago I got to go to see Cinderella with my beautiful sister-in-law Coral. I have to admit to being a bit disappointed, it wasn’t what I expected. The humour in it didn’t work for me but I’m sure that’s just me. Since then, I’ve been hankering after seeing another ballet to restore my faith so when I saw that the Russian State Ballet were coming to town, Debbie and I snapped up a pair of tickets. With our Hull New Theatre Extras discount of £10 off a each ticket it was a bargain! For me, knowing nothing about ballet, Swan Lake is the iconic one. If you asked 1000 people to name the first ballet to come into their head, I’ll bet 900 of them would say Swan Lake. Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to seeing it.
Firstly we went for something to eat at a new Greek restaurant close to the theatre, Keramikos Greek Taverna. I’ve read good reviews so was looking forward to it and honestly, was really fancying a nice moussaka. The menu though was a bit limited and more meze type dishes with only a couple of mains, neither of which were moussaka! We ordered a selection of four meze and a chicken souvlaki which came with chips and salad and just shared it all between the two of us. The food was very nice but the place was too crowded and noisy for me and the whole meal felt a bit rushed. From sitting down, we’d ordered and eaten in just over half an hour. I get that it’s that kind of thing; meze, casual dining etc. and I didn’t expect a 5 star experience (nor did I want that) but it wasn’t a particularly comfortable experience and when we’d left we went into the Theatre bar and enjoyed a leisurely cuppa to wind down. I must be getting old!!
Onto the ballet. We’d decided to go for seats in the circle to have a good view of the whole stage and I’m pleased we did. The performance was magnificent. The story is simple enough but if I hadn’t read it first I wouldn’t have followed what was happening. Having said that, I don’t think it would have mattered to me. It really was all about the dancing. A couple of the scenes went on a bit but oh my goodness, when the swans came on I was mesmerised. I can’t believe the strength and skill of these dancers. At one time the swans were all en pointe, gliding across the stage as another group of swans came in from the other side. They passed through each other so smoothly and it was hypnotic to see. The principal dancers playing Odette/Odile and Siegfried were skilful and graceful but it was the swans as a group that I could have watched all night.
All good things come to an end and what a strange end this was. I’m assuming that Odette and Siegfried died and the end scene of them dancing was symbolic of being together for eternity but then it just ended quite abruptly and the stars of the show came forward to take the applause. The chorus of swans stayed at the back and none of the other dancers came onto the stage to be applauded. The curtain came down and that was it. I have never been to any performance anywhere where you don’t get to show your appreciation to the whole ensemble and it felt really odd.
All in all though, I loved it. It was everything I expected and wanted to see. A magical performance.