It was hard not to be out of breath watching the Russian Imperial Ballet’s flamboyant interpretation of Don Quixote at Crown Theatre.
With their myriad of acrobatic feats – one handed lifts, fish dives and countless pirouettes – there was no questioning the athleticism of the company.
From the moment Daniil Kolmin sauntered onto the stage as Don Quixote, with Denys Simon as Sancho Panza by his side, audiences were consumed by the humorous tale unfolding before them.
The stars of the night though were Lina Seveliova and Nariman Bekzhanov, who danced the parts of star-crossed lovers Kitri and Basilio.
The two came onto the stage with vigour and tenacity – and they didn’t let up until the final curtain dropped. Seveliova made audiences’ heads spin as she executed one turn after another with near flawless precision.
If she wasn’t turning she was being lifted above the head of Bekzhanov - who carried out the role of Basilio with cheeky, boyish charm.
It was easy to get lost in the excitement of the swirling toreador capes, Spanish skirts and fans – not to mention the enthusiastic yells from the corps.
Founded in 1994 by Bolshoi Theatre soloist Gediminas Taranda, the Russian Imperial Ballet has developed a reputation for perfection – which was why it was disappointing at times to see imperfection among the corps.
Perhaps expectations were too high before the show – but from a company of such high standard I would not expect to be able to notice arms out of place and positional errors.
In saying that, the talent of the company cannot be denied. Their energy did not falter throughout the three acts – finishing the night with an array of party tricks that left theatre-goers amazed.