La Bayadère

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La Bayadère
© Bill Cooper
The Royal Ballet performs 'La Bayadère', a simple story of love, jealousy and opium-induced hallucinations, telling the tale of beautiful temple dancer Nikiya, her rival Gamzatti and Solor, the warrior they both desire. Originally created in the late nineteenth-century (although this production by Natalia Makarova dates from 1980), it draws heavily on that era's fairytale ideas about the 'exotic' east. But the plush designs, unrestrained emotions and virtuoso dancing are contrasted by the classical purity of the famous 'Kingdom of the Shades' scene, where a stageful of white-tutu-clad dancers line up in identical arabesques – a feat the Royal Ballet corps de ballet achieves admirably.


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