The show, danced by the English National Ballet, is made up of a short film followed by three different performances, each with strong links to the celebrated dancer and choreographer, Nureyev. The opening video served as a very useful introduction to Nureyev's life and work, explaining his style and influences. For someone like me who is a fan of ballet, but doesn't necessarily have much knowledge of dancers or the specific history of international companies, it was very helpful to be given a little contextual information before seeing the dances performed.
First to be performed was 'Petrushka', a piece Nureyev danced many times throughout his career. It was particularly interesting for me to see a ballet originally produced by the Ballets Russes, with designs by Alexandre Benois, as I have learnt a lot recently about their style in both dance and design - especially by studying the Ballets Russes costume collection at the Camberwell Archive. To see what I have previously only seen in black and white photographs come to life in front of me was thrilling.
The set and costumes were playful and striking, featuring plenty of traditional Russian folk design - in costume embellishment and colour - alongside the bold shapes of fur-lined 19th Century crinoline gowns. The costumes and set were supplied by the Birmingham Royal Ballet (production photos from their performance).
|Original design by Alexandre Benois|
|Piotr Stanczyk and Aleksandar Antonijevic in Canada National Ballet's 'Song of a Wayfarer' - showing the simple design and more contemporary choreography|
|Photos of the 2012 Royal Ballet performance by Dave Morgan|