Guest ballerina Polina Semionova danced in Birmingham Royal Ballet's Swan Lake with the company's principal dancer Brandon Lawrence on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 February 2023.
Jonathan Gray went to the Birmingham Hippodrome to review the performance.
Below is a photo gallery of the performance.
Polina Semionova and Brandon Lawrence in Swan Lake
Tall, with long arms and legs, strong feet, and a supple back, Semionova moves her limbs with beautiful, yearning fluency, stretching the expansive lines of Ivanov's choreography out into the space around her – every move she made was secure and honed, demonstrating her fine schooling. She is strong, yet vulnerable, and Semionova was not afraid to smile and give the impression Odette has at last found some hope for the future whilst Siegfried tenderly rocks her in his arms during their pas de deux in Act II.
– Jonathan Gray
Matching Semionova at every step of the way was BRB's own principal Brandon Lawrence as Prince Siegfried. Tall, handsome, and beautifully proportioned, Lawrence gave a magnificent performance, expressing with poignancy Siegfried's sadness following the death of his father, and then the joy and hope he thinks he has found when falling in love with Odette and pledging himself to her.
Not only was he a superb partner for Semionova, supporting her with utmost care and strength, but his dancing was at top level, too. His wonderful, soaring jumps and swift pirouettes, so musically phrased they seemed completely at one with the music, were also used to express the emotions of his character – every step that flowed out of him was there for a reason, and not simply for an empty display of technique. Lawrence is absolutely at the top of his game, and BRB is lucky to have such a superb artist within its ranks – the world of ballet should be laying laurels at his feet.
– Jonathan Gray
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.