Osipova and McRae are both dancers dedicated to creating and bringing characters to life.
Last Thursday, Natalia Osipova made her debut as Lise in Ashton’s La Fille Mal Gardée and while I was not present for her first performance I made it my duty to be there for the second on April 29.
While Osipova is able to jump higher and deliver a more energetic performance than most, if not all, of the other dancers at the Royal Ballet, Ashton’s choreography agreed with her only in part. Ashton’s quick footwork became muddled at times and bourrées and explosive jumps. Far neater was the take on Ashton’s funny fille by Marianela Nuñez the previous night.
Alas, Osipova continues to stun audiences around the world with her apparently endless energy. The Royal Ballet is, undoubtedly, lucky to have her as a part of their company. Her desire to thrill crowds may not always result in the cleanest lines and most pleasing positions but it does the trick. Her unique way of dancing may not be suited to each and every role she is allowed to perform, but her comedic and flirtatious Lise, with some polishing, could easily equal her performances as Kitri and Giselle.
When watching a performance starring Osipova it isn’t difficult to blur out all other dancers, including her male counterpart. Last night, however, it would be a sin to do so.
The Colas to Osipova’s Lise was performed by Steven McRae who, like Osipova, soars through the air with a notable virtuosity. McRae’s approach to Ashton’s choreography results in light, fast footwork and jumps that slice the music had a newly sharpened knife. Apart from a minor pirouette mishap – which, might I add, very rare;y happens for him – McRae’s bottle dance was flawless and his box splits hit the music with a well-received force.
Personally, I adored the couple together in this particular work as they are both dancers dedicated to creating and bringing characters to life rather than simply channeling every ounce of their energy on the technical challenges presented to them.
As Lise’s mother, Widow Simone, Philip Mosley was hilarious. However, during the musically demanding clog dance, there were times where he was just a hair too fast or too slow. The comedic side to the dance though allowed me to let this slip by. Paul Kay played the awkward Alain absolutely… awkwardly and the Shetland pony, Peregrine, waltzed across the stage with the grace of… well, a pony.
Fille is a ballet with a little bit of something for everyone and it will be broadcast in cinemas starring this cast on May 5th – the last performance in this season for the Royal Ballet. You don’t want to miss it!