Young and hungry artists at the Coliseum

On the wall of English National Ballet’s home in Kensington, it states: “We are artists, young and hungry. At war with gravity to catch poetry from the air.”

In the company’s dress rehearsal last night, the dancers certainly displayed their youthful vibrance and hunger to perform across three works of very different styles, from the endearing puppet characters of Petrushka to the bold contemporary shapes of Song of a Wayfarer.  But it is Raymonda that I love most and this was the ballet which sparkled brightest on the Coliseum stage.

English National Ballet’s director Tamara Rojo took the lead role, dancing with exactly the poise, pride and control that Nureyev’s choreography demands. Partnered by Yonah Acosta, their pas de deux squeezed every ounce of the music for bravura extra pirouettes and moments to hold impressive poses.

In other solos, the company’s female talents shone. Fernanda Oliviera, Shiori Kase and Alison McWhinney gave great twinkly variations filled with delicate steps and hops on pointe. Laurretta Summerscales also performed a gorgeously lyrical solo with seemingly effortless balances. Alongside the production’s lavish sets, the ballet felt incredibly glamorous and dynamic.

Raymonda Act III combines stylish stamping Hungarian folk dance with beautifully – crafted classical choreography that really does “catch poetry from the air”. And in case this isn’t enough, there are two vastly different ballets on show too.

Laura Dodge