SWAN LAKE: Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China
Birmingham Hippodrome; tour finishes Saturday 26 08 11
Review: Alexander Ray, 25 08 11
I’ve run out of words to describe the sense of wonder
Occasionally you get to see plays that are a revelation; very occasionally you get to see shows that are totally breath-taking. Just such a show is SWAN LAKE, as performed by the Guangdong Acrobatic Troupe of China. Aesthetically mixing dance (classical ballet) with acrobatics shouldn’t work – but with this marvellous group it does. They perform with incredible skill, great charm and remarkable grace. The different forms merge into a wonderful new aesthetic of its own. And I’m soon going to run out of superlatives.
So . . . here’s a company who perform a classical version of SWAN LAKE. Now add in all the sorts of juggling you can think of, young men leaping across 10 metre poles, each pole balanced on the shoulder of another young man, acrobats in spinning wheels, contortionists, and four totally gorgeous frogs. Not finished yet . . . in the final pas de deux between the Swan and Prince, the Swan graceful balances on one point on the shoulder of her Prince – several times.
There is often so much going on, moment by moment, that it’s hard to know where to look. And although there must be a lot of pain around, the performers all share their skills with us with infectious delight.
This all adds another dimension to a unique entertainment; the auditorium is full of an audience alternately applauding each astounding (another superlative!) dance or acrobatic move or gasping in disbelief.
Performed within spectacular designs, this is a true performance to lift your heart sky-high and to get you wondering how human bodies could do such things.
Then I crept back home. But smiling.