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Bolshoi, Brisbane: Spartacus, Jewels

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So the Bolshoi is back in Brisbane, six years after their earlier visit. I have no idea what brings such stellar companies to Brisbane, and nowhere else. La Scala, Royal Ballet, POB, ABT and now Bolshoi again. It is true that Brisbane is a delightful city with a winter not dissimilar to a standard European summer, but is that all? Anyway, the Bolshoi is here, with Spartacus and Jewels. Let's start with Spartacus. 

I'm sorry, but I did not warm to Spartacus. I did not care one scintilla for Spartacus or his wife; nor did the ever emoting Crassus or his lady do anything for me. My under thirties nephew commented about fillers, all those Roman soldiers marching around illustrating a) how invincible and b) how trully nasty they were. I hadn't seen things this way, but it gave me a useful filter for viewing the bits before and after the astonishing leaps and bounds produced by Mikhail Lobukhin as Spartacus and Artemy Belyakov as Crassus. And the techical level of the dancers, and especially Lobukhin and Belyakov, was extraordinary. The women, Yulia Stepanova (!) as Aegina and Anna Nikulina as Phrygia were also fantastic: it's a pity that the women tend to get forgotten because of those extraordinary leaps. Anyway, I'm glad that I saw Spartacus but also glad that I don't have another ticket.

Jewels, but, was a very different kettle of fish. Brilliant. Fantastic. Wonderful. Supply your own adjective. The confidence displayed in Emeralds was breathtaking. Every extension, every lift, supported or unsupported, perfectly placed, perfectly executed. Anastasia Denisova was amazing, but so were others too numerous to mention. Rubies was less successful. Not enough sass. The best way I can think of expressing it is to say that the dancers gave the impression that they would go to a high-class wine bar before taking the train home. What I wanted to see (more sass) was a group that would go to an underground bar and after more cocktails than was generally recommended end up at his place. But technically supperb. Finally, Diamonds. Brought it all together. Capybara suggested I look out for Alena Kovaleva, and she, with Jacopo Tissi, danced the leading couple. What can I say? Beautiful. Such a distillation of classical Russian dance. Diamonds indeed.

So now I have to wait with bated breath to see who's coming next year.

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