Eternal Love was the title of this show. Kitsch was what I predicted and kitsch was what we got. I actually like Volochkova more than most people do (almost all my ballet going chums refused to come with me to this one); in an age where personalities are rare in the dance world, Ms V. is a personality – and a larger than life one at that. The whole evening was given over to this one dancer with just a couple of odd (and I do mean odd) numbers by other performers to give her a bit of a breather.
Anastasia Volochkova isn’t like your average ballerina, very tall and very blonde she looks rather like a Bond girl from the 1960’s, she has a fondness for wearing red, which is a pity as that colour doesn’t suit her, also she habitually sprays her hair with glitter, though I’ve noticed she’s not the only Russian that indulges in that particular lapse of taste. What’s the dancing like? Over the top. Way over the top. She slams her legs up so fast and so high that she’s in danger of knocking herself unconscious, but she’s not a one trick pony and here and there you can still detect flashes of her Kirov schooling as in her superb balances in the “Esmeralda” pas de deux.
Esmeralda was the only classic pas de deux she performed all evening, the other items were all specially choreographed for her and none were of any great merit, though I did enjoy “Vilisa”, a solo I’ve seen her perform before in which she portrays a kind of demented sylph whose hair piece and costume drop off as she dances frenziedly around the stage. I also liked another solo “Cage”, that opens with her in a large gilt cage or perhaps prison cell, wearing a kind of eastern caftan (spangled of course). Was this a political comment about the plight of contemporary women in the Middle East perhaps? Er, no. Actually the cage magically fell to pieces allowing Anastasia to hurl herself around the stage yet again. Ho hum.
Mark Peretokin, Yevgeny Ivanchenko and Rinat Arifulin were her three partners for the evening and the small backing ensemble was provided by Viacheslav Gordeyev’s Russian State Ballet. Also appearing was Yuliana Malkhasyants in her familiar gipsy numbers from Don Q. and a Georgian tenor, who sang those two Neapolitan favourites 'O surdato 'nnamurato and Funiculi Funicula, presumably in Georgian as despite his microphone, I couldn’t catch a single word. The evening contained one little gem: Petipa’s “Cavalry Halt”, that rarely performed piece danced in character shoes that looks more like Bournonville with it’s emphasis on characterization, than a Imperial Russian extract. It was performed with charm by members of the Russian State Ballet.