Royal Ballet: Back on stage
- Royal Opera House
- Until 8th November 2020
The curtain opens, revealing a dark stage, and from the shadows, five rows of dancers appear, brought slowly into focus by a foggy cold light in typical theatrical fashion. The show has finally begun in Covent Garden. Or, better yet, re-begun. This ballet is the first reunion of the whole Company of the Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House after a seven months break brought upon by the pandemic.
Owing to current restrictions, the live show was streamed online and is on demand on their website. Featuring the entire company and principal dancers, the performance showcases highlights of several top billings including Swan Lake, Don Quixote, La Fille mal gardee, Medusa, and Romeo and Juliet.
Right from the get go, it is quite clear that even though this is designed primarily for an online audience, this is a professional performance. There is no expense spared, and the subtle aspects that make up the ballet, such as the omnipresent lighting, stage design, and coordination are as good as ever. The lockdown and furlough don’t seem to have fazed the artists much. The movements are confident and precise, the choreographies brilliant and engaging.
Natalina Osipova particularly shines as Medusa, but again it is tough to pick favourites in such a celebrated line-up. Each performance by itself would be reason enough during normal times. The assorted performances and highlights serve as a taster for ballet, offering snippets of some of the most well-known pieces, brought forth by a company that shows no sign of lockdown fatigue, and is at the top of their craft.
Nevertheless, I won’t lie. It doesn’t entirely recreate the experience of physically witnessing a ballet. A ballet is not just watching people dancing gracefully to the rhythm of an orchestra. The experience is more nuanced - It is also catching glances of the decoration of the theatre, and slowly have our eyes and minds accustom to the dimmed lights and backdrop, without the distractions of modern-day technology, and finally finding coherence with the reactions of a live audience to the performance. However, this is not possible during these times. So, until then, “The Royal Ballet: Back on Stage” online show is a great alternative, offering the next best thing, Amazing talent, unfazed by the pandemic, eager to entertain you. This is a show not to be missed.