Naomi MacKay watched the English Youth Ballet’s Swan Lake at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – it is also on this evening, Wednesday 23 March.
The production at Aylesbury was memorable, both for the audience and for the young dancers who shared the stage with six talented international principal dancers.
The English Youth Ballet has produced the show to combine the professional talents of the principals, while showcasing the talents of 90 young dancers from the local area.
There were obviously lots of proud parents and grandparents in the audience, but there was plenty to appeal to anyone else who came along to enjoy the show.
The tale of Swan Lake is full of drama, suspense, emotion and, ultimately, murder. So there’s not a moment when you’re not drawn to what is happening on stage.
The action takes place in the Mariinsky Theatre – where the Mariinsky Ballet are preparing for a production of Swan Lake – and the sumptuous Royal Palace of the Tsar. Two unlikely lovers meet Odette, a dancer with the Mariinsky Ballet and Prince Sergei, son to the Tsar. The Tsar must ensure that Prince Sergei does not marry beneath his station. Equally, the tyrannical Baron Von Rothbart would do anything to secure a royal patronage for his ballet company. He would even manipulate his own daughter – Odile – to compete for the affections of the Prince.
It’s not often in a local theatre that you get the chance to see so many dancers on stage – and the choreography makes the most of this, with group pieces that showcase the personalities of the young dancers, and their beautiful costumes.
A firm favourite with the audience was the small group of boy dancers, who showed that while they might be small in number they were big on personality!
The impressive principal dancers are alumni of such esteemed institutions as The Royal Ballet School and the Central School of Ballet, while Lindsay Fraser – who entranced as Odile – not only trained at the Croation National Ballet School but also at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts.
A special mention must also go to the older girls – Madeleine Newington, Sarah Robinson and Holly Ford-Langstaff – who took on solos as the Spanish, Hungarian, and Italian Princesses.
According to the English Youth Ballet, the young dancers have rehearsed for 60 hours over 10 days to take part, experiencing what life as a professional dancer might be like. Whether they go on to work in the world of dance or not, I’m sure this will be an experience they will never forget.
Picture credit: Peter Mares