Why you should see the Russian State Ballet in Hull this week

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By Amanda Ward
Theatre Reviewer for What’s On Hub

There’s a treat for local ballet lovers at the New Theatre Hull this week with a visit by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia. A packed theatre on Tuesday was treated to a new ballet for the region “The Snow Maiden”, I was fortunate enough to be in the audience to see this.

The Snow Maiden lives in the forest with Father Frost (think a Russian Santa Claus) and the ballet opens with the maiden dancing in the forest with her snowflake friends. She asks her father if she can go to the nearby village and despite his reservations, Father Frost lets her go.

Scene two takes place in the local village where the villagers are gathering to celebrate a winter festival. The Snow Maiden dances with a local shepherd boy called Lel. Then, along comes a young merchant. All the local girls arrive and the merchant (Mizgir) picks a young girl (Kupava) to dance with, there follows a beautiful pas de deux (a duet).

Mizgir spots the Snow Maiden however, and follows her to the forest. The two dance a very touching pas de deux whch for me, was the highlight of the ballet. It was full of emotion. When finally she surrenders herself completely and warms to love, her heart melts in a tragic embrace.

This is a small company which provides plenty of mixed roles for the dancers, this makes for lots of costume changes. Whilst the two principle female dancers had beautiful costumes and themselves danced beautifully, I felt the villagers costumes weren’t quite the same standard. The scenery was provided by a back screen with scenes projected onto it (I now know where our share of the snow went this weekend!)

Later this week, the Company are dancing (each for one night only) Romeo & Juliet, Swan Lake, Nutcracker and Cinderella, so take the opportunity to see these outstanding productions while they’re here.

And look out for local interest with Kostas Matthew Karavos, born in Hull. We truly are and always have been a City of Culture.

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