On Monday night I had the pleasure of heading over to the Tyne Theatre to check out The English Youth Ballet present their adaptation of Swan Lake. The tragic love story of Odette and Prince Sergei, separated by his higher birth, and the meddling of the villainous Von Rothbart, who is determined to instead facilitate the marriage of his daughter Princess Odile to the Prince.
The English Youth Ballet has been going for 14 years, and was set up to allow young dancers throughout England to perform quality ballet productions in a fully professional setting. The ages of the performers ranged widely from 8-18, as well as Professional Principal Artists taking roles. With a cast of over one hundred, the scale of the ballet was truly staggering, culminating in a kaleidoscope of colour and outstanding talent.
The energy and flowing story which runs throughout each scene really is a credit to the director, Janet Lewis. As while the original story has been altered to suit the production and cast, the magic of still shines brightly.
The standout performance unsurprisingly was down to Oliver Speers in his role as the Prince, a spectacular showing of his skill and refined craft. At times he was nothing but a blur on the stage in a flurry of spins and spring jumps across the stage, and his chemistry with both the Princess and Odette really was a delight. While in return they also displayed an exquisite level of talent and poise, through individual skill and beautiful interaction.
From the smallest part to the leads, the quality was consistently brilliant. Every movement was perfect and drew the audience into a magical world, whilst the music was woven beautifully against it. Tchaikovsky’s score is utterly stunning and throughout builds tension and drama, whilst soaring at times, bringing with it excitement and merriment, in all the right places. It really was a quality night, everyone involved should be very proud.