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English National Ballet in Swan Lake © Laurent Liotardo

Review: English National Ballet’s Swan Lake

By Harriet Published 18 January 2023

Beloved for its superb dancing, beautiful sets and Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, played live by English National Ballet Philharmonic, Derek Deane’s Swan Lake is a thrill for the dedicated fan or first-time ballet-goer.

It’s hard to imagine something more mesmerising and impressive than the ballet. Attending the London Coliseum for a production of Swan Lake by the English National Ballet was the perfect way to spend a freezing cold January night.

It had been years since I had been to the ballet, probably not since I was a child, and it was my first time seeing the English National Ballet. I was so excited to see it in one of London’s most magnificent buildings.

The talent is so breath-taking, and it really is like watching athletes at their best. There are endless impressive solos, with each dancer bringing their own individual style to the performance. The male lead seemed so buoyant, always staying in the air longer than seemed possible. The flock of female dancers moved perfectly together. I was left amazed each time their bodies seemed to do something impossible – how do they spin so many times? How do they move their arms like that?!

The set is intricately painted and the costumes are exquisite. There’s also a visible orchestra beneath the stage, and I love watching the conductor.

The story of Swan Lake is a familiar one – whether you’ve seen adaptations such as the film Black Swan starring Natalie Portman, or the story of Odette and Derek in the children’s film The Swan Princess – which was a childhood favourite of mine! (Her friends include a puffin, a tortoise and a frog – what’s not to love.

It’s a beautiful and dark story with dramatic characters that packs an incredible emotional punch. Grab your tickets now.

english national ballet Review swan lake

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