Sleeping Beauty

St Petersburg Ballet Theatre at Norwich Theatre Royal

Traditionalists will adore this production of the classical fairy tale by the St Petersburg Ballet Theatre directed by Konstantin Tachkin.

It is the story of a princess cursed with death at her christening by a wicked witch after her royal parents renege on a promise.

Fortunately the curse is commuted by the benevolent fairy of Goodness and Light, so instead of dying when she pricks her finger on a rose thorn she merely falls asleep until a prince comes and wakens her.

The christening scene is a gossamer and tulle fantasy, the fairies dancing with individuality and finesse. It is thrillingly disrupted by the arrival of the imperious witch, who casts curses with a menacing puff of smoke.

The exuberant dancing of Irina Kolesnikova as Princess Aurora was breathtaking, especially her supported pirouettes as she flirtatiously dazzled would-be suitors. And the romantic dream sequence and thrilling wedding pas de deux with usefully dynamic Prince Florimund - Yuri Gloukhikh - were expressive and emotional.

Other highlights were the lyrical folk dances and captivating procession of fairytale characters who enacted their stories in the grand finale. The young graduate dancers from the esteemed Vaganova Ballet School demonstrated the highest of technical skills and the impressive 50-piece orchestra played Tchaikovsky's score beautifully.

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This spectacular production uses lavish scenery and costumes, expressive and often humorous mime and superb choreography to convey the tale. It will delight all dance lovers fortunate enough to obtain a ticket.

t The show continues until Wednesday February 11.There are performances of Giselle on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, February 12-14. Box office: 01603 630000.

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