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Askonas Holt, Raymond Gubbay and Sadler’s Wells present




Don-Quijote - Anette-Delgado



Choreography: Alicia Alonso

 Ballet Master: Felix Rodriguez

Ballet Mistress: Mercedes Vergara

Stage Designer: Salvador Fernandez

Orchestra Conductor: Giovanni Duarte


London Coliseum


30 March – 2 May 2010







A review by Jafar Iqbal for EXTRA! EXTRA!

Ballet would not be my first choice for a night out at the theatre; truth be told, it’s never been a choice at all in my life so far. So the idea of me sitting in the London Coliseum and watching a group of men and women dance for me, for the purpose of professional and constructively critical analysis, will seem quite unusual to you. And truth be told (again!), the idea sounds unusual to me too. However, an experience like this has to be looked at as anything else would for the first time – my first album, my first Hitchcock film, my first football match; with similar feelings of wonder and curiosity.

So it was with that feeling of wonder and curiosity that I did indeed sit in the London Coliseum to watch a ballet performance. More specifically, this was Magia De la Danza, performed by the highly reputed Ballet Nacional de Cuba. Billed as a showcase of the company’s talents, scenes were taken from various productions and shown off to an extremely approving audience.

The best place to begin is, quite obviously, with the performances themselves; and, as expected, they were sensational. There was fluidity and poise in every performer, each one dancing at a consistently high level and topping each other scene after scene. It seemed like the difficulty of the performances increased with each new scene and, in turn, the applause and cheers increased too.

The first half moved from Giselle to Sleeping Beauty to The Nutcracker and, though the performances were as good as ever, this particular half seemed slightly slower. Anette Delgado and Javier Torres’ performances in The Nutcracker were a stand-out here, and sent the audience into the intermission on a high. Post-intermission is when the energy really grew, and this was echoed in what became a more rapturous and raucous crowd. Special mention has to go to Viengsay Valdes and Elier Bourzac, who stole the show with their absolutely fantastic performances in Don Quixote. Displaying a level of dancing that seemed a step above the rest of the cast, these two performers were a joy to watch. Coppelia, Swan Lake and Gottschalk Symphony made up the rest of the second half, with Yanela Pinera and Dani Hernandez performing a beautifully choreographed scene from the infamous Swan Lake. Gottschalk Symphony, the final performance of the night, gave everyone the chance to perform together and send everyone home more than satisfied.

The choreography, in fact, was tremendous across the board; and kudos goes to Alicia Alonso here, who choreographed the entire show. There was an assurance in the direction, and she captured the beauty of the pieces perfectly. The stage, of course, was empty, giving as much space as possible for the performers to shine. Specially designed backdrops were used to distinguish between each production, and the simplicity certainly enhanced the spectacle. Of course, it would be wrong to miss out the music; the live orchestra was pitch-perfect from start to finish, ably conducted by Giovanni Duarte.

For someone who had never seen a ballet performance live before, I was extremely impressed, and it is impossible to disregard just how great a visceral experience such a show is. This was a brilliant showcase by The Ballet Nacional de Cuba, and demonstrates exactly why it is one of the world’s best dance companies. Though it was not my first choice for a night out, it was definitely one I don’t regret making.



Giselle -Cuerpo-de-baile




Spring Dance



Swan Lake / Magia de la Danza


Tuesday 30th March – Sunday 11th April 2010

Tickets: £15 - £65



L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato


Wednesday 14th – Saturday 17th April 2010

Tickets: £16 - £87



The Sleeping Beauty


Tuesday 20th – Saturday 24th April 2010

Tickets: £15 - £60



Dualia / La Leyenda


Tuesday 27th April – Sunday 2nd May 2010

Tickets: £15 - £55


London Coliseum, St Martins Lane, London WC2

Box Office: 0871 911 0200


Sadler’s Wells, Rosebury Avenue, London EC1

Box Office: 0844 412 4300




London Coliseum
33 Saint Martin's Court

020 7836 0111

Tickets £15 - £65




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