Review of Eifman’s Ballet – “Anna Karenina”
Last Saturday, on the 19th of April 2014 I visited the London Coliseum to see a Russian Modern Ballet from St. Petersburg, “Anna Karenina”, created by Boris Eifman.
The hosting theatre – the London Coliseum, is full of that charming Art Nouveau atmosphere making much smoother this Time Passage from the Present to the 19th century tragic Russian story, created by Leo Tolstoy.
The ballet is based on the famous novel, “Anna Karenina”, and predominately concentrates on the love triangle between Anna, her conservative husband Karenin and the dashing Vronsky. It opens up in a burst of psychological energy making an indelible impression upon its viewers.
Every twisted and extremely expressive movement of Anna Karenina’s body leads the viewer from the peak of her love passion to the gradual degradation of her inner world, crushed by the same passion. Lovers’ souls and bodies are entwined in incredible harmony. The building up of their passion is expressed through the light and colors. Black, golden-grey and creamy white colors dominate the ballet’s pallet helping to communicatethe emotional mood of heroes together with the dark and the light sides of Anna’s soul.
Two beds: Anna’s marital couch and her lover’s “retreat” act as “supportive actors”, witnessing the development of the tragedy.
Anna and her husband’s acting is saturated with poses of rejection, prayers, grief, sorrows and anger. At the same time Anna and Vronsky’s bodies are entwined like branches of trees in complicated and amazingly smooth transformational poses. Lovers are in white, reminiscent of love doves. Anna’s silky night dress makes the gravity disappear under the ballerina’s feet, leaving her entirely in the power of her lover, whilst her black, mourning outfit pulls her to this “sinful” earth. Every gesture, turn or movement of the dancers is full of meaning. Their suppleness and flexibility are tested to the limit of a human body’s capability.
Condemning society, Anna’s husband, together with the male group of dancers, smeared in fuel oil and dirt represent the churning and rattling wheels of trains, , even her little son, all are dressed in black, mourning Anna’s destroyed inner world, anticipating her madness and sacrifice.
All this highly charged emotional performance is well accentuated by the minimum use of light, mostly spotlights combined with the ever moving music of Tchaikovsky.
This classical drama goes so well with the innovative, creative and very talented modern choreography of Eifman. It slowly reveals itself against the background of the romantic surroundings and the luxurious vintage interior of the London Coliseum, leaving the audience with an absolutely unforgettable experience. By Nadine Platt