Paquita in St Petersburg

MIKE DIXON considers Yuri Smekalov's new staging in St Petersburg

As Paquita, Anastasia Kolegova makes her first entrance in a fetching orange skirt and black bodice. She is an assured performer with beautiful legs and feet, and dances with stylistic purity. Tall and well formed, she is an experienced ballerina without the usual attenuated look of many of her compatriots. Kolegova is seductive but without projecting a strong stage personality. Xander Parish as Andrés brings a vibrant swagger to his solos, tossing his head and flourishing his wrists and rattling off chaîné turns with insouciance. This is a star performance in every sense. In Act II he and Kolegova are joined by Yekaterina Chebykina as Cristina to dance the famous pas de trois, with its echoes of Bournonville, normally performed by three smaller soloists with bodies better adapted to the intricate choreography. Kolegova and Chebykina execute their variations with aplomb and Parish explodes through the air in huge jumps, finishing each choreographic phrase with emphatic and well-shaped poses. Andrés perfectly suits his buoyant personality, boyish smile and general verve. Unfortunately, London has yet to see him in this kind of role. Read Mike Dixon's review in the May issue.

Mariinsky Ballet in Paquita. Photo: Emma Kauldhar

Alice and Mayerling in Munich

ALISON KENT compares two contrasting productions in Munich's Ballet Week

At the premiere, the roles of Alice and the Jack of Hearts were performed by star couple Maria Shirinkina and Vladimir Shklyarov, and although there are few occasions when they do come together during the piece, from their opening pas de deux it is clear they had captured the essence of their respective characters. How wonderful it was to see Javier Amo in such an animated part as Lewis Carroll, who later turns into the White Rabbit, his gestures and mimicry personifying the neuroses of the small burrowing mammal with its long ears and ever-present fob watch. Read Alison Kent's review in  the May issue.

Bayerisches Staatsballett in Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Photo:: Wilfried Hösl