Monday, 17 December 2018

Awestruck by sheer beauty The Snow Queen

I’ll be honest â?? I have a limited knowledge of ballet. The little I do know

I’ll be honest â?? I have a limited knowledge of ballet. The little I do know of the art has been gained from the occasional glimpse on television.

Until seeing

The Snow Queen
at the Kenton Theatre

I had never seen a professional performance in the flesh.

If any of this feels familiar to you, my experience at Ballet Theatre UK’s production gives me the confidence to tell you now: you’re missing out.

As part of their national tour, the dance troupe stopped in Henley to bring us Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairytale.

A word of advice to my fellow fledgling ballet spectators — if you’re concerned with storyline, brush up on it beforehand.

I was not quite so prepared, and could grasp the idea of an evil queen ruling the land (clue is in the title), but specifics escaped me. Apparently, the family behind me were just as unprepared, and the intervention of Google during the interval provided the synopsis we sought. That being said, to focus on the intimate details of the plot would be to miss the wonder of the ballet entirely. Of course, the story is brilliant — it has to be to have inspired the phenomenon that was

— but as the show went on, I found myself less concerned with deciphering what every pirouette might symbolise, and more interested in just watching, awestruck by the sheer beauty of it all. The female ensemble often looked as if they were floating as they were lifted above the heads of the men with ease.

All completely in sync, they glided across the stage, and I marvelled at how they could have such grace and strength all at once.

Their principal dancer (Grace Carr, as Gerda) was exquisite — so fluid, so flawless, and so effortless that you could believe she goes about her daily life en pointe. With her delicate movement and doll-like features, she radiated innocence, totally embodying the confused young girl in search of her friend.

Ines Ferreira as the Snow Queen was also wonderful, somehow maintaining the same elegance as Carr, but exuding a sense of dominance, of violence as she danced.

All the costumes were a spectacle and got more extravagant and even more sparkly. I’m quite sure that the shimmering dresses were the envy of every little girl in the audience (especially as my little sister told me so).

After my evening at

The Snow Queen
, I still can’t tell you which ballet position is “third” but it didn’t matter. Even without plot or knowledge of technique, it was utterly mesmerizing.

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