YOU have to admire the stamina of the Russian State Ballet of Siberia. Halfway through a British tour, they came to Liverpool to perform three different ballets over three days.
Tough it may be but there was no sign of tiredness in the company’s opening production of La Fille Mal Gardée, a rustic romance that retained all its youthful exuberance.
With its origins in the 18th Century, it is the oldest ballet still staged but with a company of excellent young performers it came over as fresh as a daisy.
This is the Russian version so a little different from the more familiar British Frederick Ashton production, no dancing chickens, a different score and a clog dance without wooden clogs.
But the love triangle between a widow’s daughter, her handsome beau and the village idiot she is meant to marry remains the same. It is charming, funny and full of dance.
Based on choreography of the 1903 Russian revival by Alexander Gorsky, it uses a very rhythmic score by German composer Peter Hertel which pushes the dance along and creates a merry mood.
A delicate Elena Pogorelaya, 22, was a characterful Lise and 19-year-old Kirill Bulychev a supple and energetic Colas, her lover. Their final act pas de deux was a delight with strong balance and turns from both.
Alexander Kuimov extracted all the humour from the dame role of the widow and Denis Pogorely clowned well as the idiotic Alain.
Pastel costumes and a fairly basic set showed off the numerous village dances while the Russian orchestra emphasised the percussive nature of the Hertel score.
It was a happy production with a sunny glow.