St Petersburg's mighty Mariinsky Ballet celebrates 50 years since it first performed in London. Of course, back then, they were called the Kirov and they came from Leningrad, but while the names change, the company's proud tradition and superlative technique stays solidly in place. This anniversary season closes with a biggie, 'La Bayadère', an unashamedly melodramatic slice of nineteenth-century Orientalism, telling the tale of a temple dancer's doomed love for a noble warrior. The ballet is probably best known for the 'Kingdom of the Shades' scene, a slightly incongruous but totally beautiful 'white act' featuring the whole corps de ballet ethereally descending to the stage in perfect unison.
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