Dance Review






Askonas Holt, Raymond Gubbay and Sadler’s Wells present

Spring Dance at London Coliseum

The American Ballet Theatre

Le Corsaire

American Ballet Theatre's Le Corsaire, featuring HERMAN CORNEJO

Photo by Gene Schiavone


Staged by Anna-Marie Holmes after

Marius Petipa and Konstantin Sergeyev

Music by Adophe Adam, Cesare Pugni, Leo Delibes Riccardo Drigo and Prince Oldenbourg

ENO orchestra conducted by Charles Barker

Sets and costumes by Irina Tibilova

London Coliseum

2 – 4 April, 2009






A review by Marion Drew for EXTRA! EXTRA!


It is as traditional an evening of ballet as you are likely to get, from the towering, if rather uninspiring sets and colourful if rather literally interpreted costumes and props (complete with wooden swords) to the structure of the narrative. The production is conventional, with little layered interpretation but the result is a whole hearted evening offering a wonderful display of classical ballet from one of the greatest ballet companies in the world; a feast of technical virtuosity.

The story follows the fate of a slave girl who is captured and recaptured by a pirate and a slave trader, sold to a rich Turkish pasha and ultimately rescued by her true love. It is a wafer thin story line that sometimes appears trite and at one point, in the jardin animé, one can’t be sure whether the company is parodying the story, it is difficult not to laugh and to take it seriously. But watching the beautifully executed dance steps, the sheer grace of the dancers, in both male and female roles, and the wonderful combinations of steps, the pas de deux, pirouettes, fouettés and leaps, is nevertheless tremendously enjoyable.

This production showcases the undeniable and remarkable talent of the company’s principal dancers. Herman Cornejo dances the role of slave-merchant Lankedem with infectious energy and verve. Angel Corella has an air of the mysterious about him and a very dramatic stage presence as he executes the famous steps of the slave Ali with considerable passion. Marcelo Gomes as Conrad is beautiful to watch, performing alongside Gillian Murphy as Medora, with a commanding dignity. Gillian Murphy is herself impressive, especially in her dazzlingly fast fouettés and she lends a slightly coquettish air to her role. But of the female principals, Xiomara Reyes in the role of Medora’s friend Gulnare is the most rounded character, dancing with a delicate lightness which is charming as well as captivating.

There is little that is subtle, or that offers food for a sensitive imagination and there is no nuanced choreography or real drama in this ballet, but perhaps the story is not the point of the evening, the dancing is, and that is an undeniable delight.



America Ballet Theatre's Le Corsaire, featuring ANGEL CORELLA

Photo by Marty Sohl. (lccorellams)


London Coliseum
St. Martin's Lane
Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 4ES

2nd to 4th April 2009

Performances 7:30pm, matinees 2:30pm

Box Office: 0871911 0200




Copyright © EXTRA! EXTRA All rights reserved