Review: Russian State Ballet Of Siberia - CoppÃ©lia @ SDH
I will admit that I have not been an advocate for ballet in the past. Out of all my artistic endeavours, dance is the least I have seen than all the other live art forms.
Unlike plays, opera-goers are aware that the characters will sing about everything to do with the story. A play will have talking but with a focus to its execution. But obviously for a ballet, there is no speech. Bar a couple which have some singing in them, it can be a shock in realising this. Is the choreography more important than the story? Can you even tell a story of a ballet just through dance?
With these things considered, I graced the ballet on three occasions in December. As always with Christmas, the New Theatre has a panto on (normally for two months, I might add), the WMC a musical and ballets at Saint David's Hall. The Russian State Ballet of Siberia must prove very popular since they return to Cardiff most, if not every Christmas. There seems to be a sweeping sense of bringing children to the ballet, especially little girls. This is unsurprising but they can spoil it for others. I think the evening performances should be adults only and the children matinees, respectively.
CoppÃ©lia is a ballet that I had hoped to see for some time. I wondered how a ballerina would portray the movements of the doll. I had something in mind from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, when Truly Scrumptious is turned into a wind-up doll. Her movements are stylised and is perhaps the best scene in the whole film. But ballet would not be like that, I realised after.
The ballet itself was enjoyable. It’s refreshing to not have to look at surtitles all night or trying to guess what opera singers are saying. You can enjoy the dancing, enjoy the orchestra score and admire all those who are performing. Mind you, the ladies are so thin they could easily jump through a keyhole. As opera sees a fair majority of singers on the larger side, ballet is the complete opposite. From what you see, it's more a case of who can eat the least. The ladies defy gravity with en point, leg raised higher up than their height and great jumps. Whilst the men thump around the stage in tights that leave little to the imagination.
The story seemed to involve a girl who visits an evil old doll-makers workshop. She discovers a life-sized doll and has to hide it and pretend to be her when the doll-maker arrives back.
The ballet itself is not as crowd-pleasing as 'the Tch three', these being Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and Sleeping Beauty. I prefer Stravinsky's three famous ballets: Petrushka, The Fire Bird and the phenomenal The Rite Of Spring. But the other two ballets this Christmas season were The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, I'm more than happy to see them.
Watch this space. The other ballet reviews will follow...
Related Article: Review: Swan Lake @ WMC
Photo Credit: Javier Roche