From Russia with tutus

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Three of the nation's favourite ballets are performed at the Hippodrome later this month, says James Higgins

The Russian State Ballet of Siberia are promised a warm reception when they arrive at the Bristol Hippodrome.
The ballet troupe will be giving four performances across three days, as they adroitly dance the stories of The Nutcracker, Cinderella and Swan Lake. 

Swan Lake (1876), The Nutcracker (1892) and Cinderella (1945) are some of the most performed ballets in the world.
One estimate suggests The Nutcracker accounts for a third of ballet ticket revenues in the US. That alone shouldn’t be a marker of quality; for decades, the sublime quality of these ballets has assured their popularity. In fact, the premiere of The Nutcracker in 1892 was deemed ‘disappointing’, with even the performers considering it an ‘unremarkable’ ballet. 

Swan Lake tells the simple story of the love between a man and the eponymous arch-necked fowl. The particular bird, and her flock, are, in fact, cursed maidens beholden to the evil Rothbart. The spell can only be broken, as one would expect from Russian fairy tales, by true love. After a scheme by Rothbart deceives our hero into betraying his true love, all seems lost. It quickly becomes apparent that it is, resulting in a wholly appropriate, melodramatic ending. 

The Nutcracker is that time-old tale of fighting toys on Christmas Eve. Forget Transformer action figures; think mice, gingerbread soldiers and tin dolls. The nutcracker is a present from a local toymaker (who obviously, on Christmas Eve, had run out of desirable gifts), which magically transforms into a prince for our protagonist to swoon over. The story ends with dancing sweets. Take a box of Quality Street, and your tummy could feel the same. 

Finally, we have Cinderella. The hobbling, shoe-shedding ‘ladette’ who went out on the town in slippers. Mercifully, they bring true love to worship at her feet. Lucky so-and-so. 

When: Hippodrome Theatre

Where: 15–17 January

Matinee and Evening Performances 


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