Anna Pavlova Gala Review 2012 | Sergei Polunin
Anna Pavlova Gala Review 2012

Anna Pavlova Gala Review 2012

Anna Pavlova gala: Seven magazine review, by Louise Levene

Seven rating: * * * *

Just when you worry that Sergei Polunin might have been oversold, you see him dance again and realise it was all true. Even in the ultra-starry company of last Sunday’s gala in memory of Anna Pavlova – Vadim Muntagirov, Uliana Lopatkina, Evgenia Obraztsova, Svetlana Zakharova – the Royal Ballet runaway was ablaze with classical artistry.

Wayne Eagling and Ensemble Productions delivered a mixed evening, and the variation in quality between the party pieces seemed to render time elastic. Tamara Rojo’s risible duet with live goldfish seemed to last longer than Titanic, while Polunin’s Raymonda variations zipped by in a heartbeat.

We don’t see nearly enough of Raymonda. The Royal Ballet haven’t danced their glorious Nureyev-staged Act III for nearly a decade and the Bolshoi haven’t brought theirs since 1999. Glazunov, Petipa, a shimmering ballerina and two superb male roles: what’s not to love?

Polunin’s performance at the Coliseum gala was certainly a one-man advertisement for the ballet. The bravura tricks were all in place but there was no sense of display, no hint of preparation, and the soft landings to the knee were every bit as treasurable as the great arcing leaps. The Boston critic HT Parker once wrote of Pavlova that she “accomplishes every feat of technical virtuosity with an air almost of simplicity”, and Polunin’s easy grandeur was in precisely that spirit.

Pavlova danced her last performance back in 1930 but her influence was incalculable, and British theatregoers are only one degree of separation from her greatness thanks to the impact she had on the cornerstones of our national ballet: Alicia Markova, Ninette de Valois and, of course, Frederick Ashton.

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