A flurry of sparkling snowflakes, a cascade of blossoming flowers and a colourful hot air balloon drifting skywards – English National Ballet’s Nutcracker proved the perfect antidote to a woefully wet and windy Saturday!

Christmas seems merely a dim and distant memory now that the sparkly decorations have come down and January has well and truly arrived. However, inside the London Coliseum theatre the magic of the Yuletide season lingers this weekend as the venue hosts the final performances in this run of the festive – and fantastical – ballet.

Wayne Eagling’s exuberant Nutcracker premièred in 2010 and is the 10th version to have been incorporated into English National Ballet’s repertoire since the Company was established in 1950. Of all the 19th Century ballets, Nutcracker is the one which is most often staged and interpreted in strikingly different ways. English National Ballet’s current production includes some wonderful moments which are full of timeless Christmas cheer and plenty of divine dancing.

 

ENB's Nutcracker - Shiori Kase as Clara - Photo by Jason Bell

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English National Ballet returns to Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday with Swan Lake.

Moonlit lakeside scenes of romance and despair; the splendour of a royal palace and the spectacle of a corps de ballet of synchronised swans gliding poetically across the stage make Swan Lake a favourite among dance fans and the perfect introduction for first time ballet-goers.

Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky’s first score for ballet and the haunting music is some of the illustrious composer’s best-known work.  The ballet’s 1877 premiere was poorly received but it has since become one of the absolute classics, with demanding technical content and a mesmerising story.

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ENB Swan Lake corps

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Mischief and mistaken identities make for much merriment in English National Ballet’s effervescent Coppélia.

There is plenty of fun to be had with this light-hearted ballet and Company dancers were in high spirits for the opening performance at the London Coliseum last night (23rd July 2014).

Yonah Acosta and Shiori Kase made their debuts in the lead roles as the tale’s bickering – though still smitten – lovers. Both newly promoted, with Yonah soaring from the rank of Junior Soloist to Principal and Shiori more modestly upgraded from Soloist to First Soloist, their infectious enthusiasm and pleasing partnership set the tone for an enchanting evening.

 

English National Ballet's 'Coppélia' (photo by David Jensen)

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Christmas is a time for magic and nothing is more magical than a trip to the ballet.

 

With a plethora of pantomimes on offer at the moment, those seeking alternative festive fare should pirouette their way to the capital to see English National Ballet’s stylish Nutcracker. Currently captivating audiences at the London Coliseum, this is the perfect seasonal tale for all the family.

Former Artistic Director Wayne Eagling’s interpretation of the timeless classic is set in a frost-covered Edwardian London winter, on an enchanted Christmas Eve.

Anticipation is in the air as Clara and her brother Freddie prepare for their family’s Christmas party. The Christmassy scene is set with some clever ice skating and the children attending the matinee performance are transfixed from this point on.

 

ENB Nutcracker promo pic (Photo by Guy Farrow and Patrick Baldwin)

Festive treat: English National Ballet’s Nutcracker (photo by Guy Farrow and Patrick Baldwin)

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Epic pirate ballet marks Alina Cojocaru’s debut with English National Ballet, a blockbuster start to the autumn season and a chance for the men to show what they can do…  

 

Pirates, passion and pas de deux thrilled theatre-goers at the world premiere of English National Ballet’s epic new production last night. Dazzling dancers from the UK’s leading touring ballet company raised the anchor and set sail on a swashbuckling adventure, with the rarely seen 19th Century classic Le Corsaire (The Pirate), at Milton Keynes Theatre.

A treasure trove of delights awaited audience members keenly anticipating the 7.30pm performance as this three-act ballet features a rich tapestry of plot twists and turns. Loosely based on the 1814 poem ‘The Corsair’ by Lord Byron, it is set in a world of sumptuous Turkish palaces and populated with pirates, exotic slave girls and wealthy male dignitaries. Dramatic rescues, abductions, mutiny, subterfuge, love and betrayal abound as the tale of a dashing pirate and his love affair with a beautiful harem girl unfolds.

Artistic Director Tamara Rojo promised to rejuvenate ENB’s repertoire when she took on the top position last year and this re-imagining of Le Corsaire illustrates her dedication to bringing more varied ballets to the masses.

 

ENB's 'Le Corsaire' : Cast photo by Guy Farrow

AHOY!: English National Ballet dancers channel their inner pirate… (Cast photo by Guy Farrow)

 

English National Ballet is the first UK company to stage the complete work (others have extracted famous segments, performing them independently). Consequently, Milton Keynes has played a part in making ballet history with the opening of this spectacular new masterpiece.

And, as if this was not excitement enough, last night also marked glittering ex-Royal Ballet star Alina Cojocaru’s debut with English National Ballet. View Post