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The International Writers Magazine
Dance Review

Swan Lake On Ice
The Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Wednesday Feb 21st.
Performances: Monday Feb 19th – Saturday Feb 24th
Jo Green

A phenomenon is catching on: joining together the art of dancing with the skill of ice skating. My friends and I were in need of something a little different and this performance definitely delivered!

Swan Lake is one of the most talked of ballets across the globe and was first presented in 1877 as, ‘The Lake of Swans.’ The Mayflower decided to bring The Imperial Stars to their stage in Southampton to capture this remarkable performance of Swan Lake to compliment the astounding music of Tchaikovsky, which consists of some of my favourite classical pieces.

I endeavoured not to think about how this ballet was going to work on ice so that my expectations would not be destroyed: primarily because I have been focusing a lot of my attention on the current ITV1 series, "Dancing on Ice," which seems to express a growing passion and proficiency in this type of sport that leaves only to be desired.

As the lights dimmed and the music opened up the scene I was taken into a whirling, mesmerizing and utterly colourful portrayal of this captivating ballet. On my part I found that there was no disappointment to be had and I recollected that only once did I see a leg slightly limp as a swan glided through the air. Perhaps at times some of the choreography was slightly blemished as the ladies spun into all shapes and patterns, but this in no way destroyed the enthralling portrayal of this classic tale of good versus bad that was so successfully being depicted.

All of the ballerinas seemed to have incredible stamina and versatility over the ice. The leading swan, Odette, was played by "Dancing on Ice" star, Olga Sharutenko, who beautifully guided the dancers around her as she opened her wings and took to the floor. The sheer speed and vitality of these performers was staggering and on a couple of occasions I found myself holding my breath as they spun and curved or flipped and weaved. The most memorable image for me was when the leading male, Prince Siegfried, played by Vadim Yarkov, had two ballerinas both leaning out from his one arm at a right angle which sat just a couple of inches from the ground, almost as if the ladies were attached to one another, as he twirled rapidly around the ice.

There were also a few treats that the Mayflower included in their version of Swan Lake, such as a blazing ring of fire on the ice as the evil sorcerer lead us into the interval. The swans were also given wings as they were lifted by their partners and then pulled through the sky by obscured long wires. It was an incredibly entrancing scene which, together with dimmed magenta lighting that concealed the dancers’ bodies and lit up the fresh white colour of their costumes, made this an unforgettable performance.

As I began to imagine the extent of preparation and talent that went in to this production I was staggered: the dancers obviously have the ballet skills as well as the skating skills and they top it all off by performing to one of the most powerful compositions in the world. Swan Lake on Ice was worth every single penny.

© Josephine Green"

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