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Diana Vishneva: On the Edge

Diana Vishneva is an important Russian ballerina with an illustrious career at the Mariinsky. She is also a long-time guest artist with American Ballet Theatre, one of New York’s premier troupes. She is both technically and artistically accomplished – and physically beautiful – and has charmed London audiences in the classics.

But as with many senior ballerinas, these classical laurels aren’t enough, and Vishneva has sought a contemporary strand to her career. The problem is that the choreographers she’s chosen serve her ill, with Jean-Christophe Maillot and Carolyn Carlson creating ballets that slavishly track her classical technique without extending her artistic range. Indeed, by London standards, the two-part programme is dated, over-long and under-choreographed, relying on Russian angst and old-world balletic line. It comprises two works that are essentially elongated solos that mix torrid gesture and exaggerated extensions – both long abandoned by innovative European dance makers.

The first piece Switch by Maillot is a dreary romantic trio for Vishneva and Gaetan Morlotti and Bernice Coppieters from Les Ballets de Monte Carlo. The quality of dancing is faultless, but artistically the piece is dated, with black-on-black decor and lurid emotions. Vishneva is served no better in Woman in a Room by Carlson, another black-on-black work that sees her cut up lemons and serve them to the audience. On this evidence, the sublime Vishneva has missed the contemporary developments seized by her balletic peers, and rather than leading the artistic avant-garde, she unintentionally shows how far Russia now choreographically lags behind the West.

Verdict
Disappointing double bill from the sublime Russian ballerina whose programme of new work gives little indication of her artistic allure

Production

Production
Diana Vishneva: On the Edge
Venue
Coliseum
City
London
Starts
April 14, 2015
Ends
April 18, 2015
Press night
April 14, 2015
Composer
Danny Elfman, Giovanni Sollima, Rene Aubry
Choreographer
Jean-Christopher Maillot, Carolyn Carlson; Sara Orselli, Henri Mayet (assistant choreographers)
Set
Alain Lagarde
Lighting
Samuel Thery
Costume
Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Michel Laine, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Chrystel Zingiro
Technical
Nick van der Heyden (production supervisor), Anastasia Yatsenko (ballet mistress), Gene Schiavone (production photos)
Stage manager
Chris Roeland
Cast includes
Diana Vishneva, Gaetan Morlotti, Bernice Coppieters
Producer
Sergei Danilian, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Ardani Artists, Diana Vishneva Foundation, Les Ballets de Monte Carlo, Centre Choregraphique National Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais, Atelier de Paris Carolyn Carlson, Vladimir Smirnov Foundation
Running time
1hr 40mins