The Mikhailovski ballet is currently on its third London run, showcasing its latest additions - the Bolshoi-bred Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev.
The Mikhailovski Ballet’s production of Giselle has some spectacular dancers, but is, unfortunately, not all that spectacular in itself.
The critics seem to agree that the prima, Natalia Osipova, is extremely talented, but the drab backgrounds and sub-par acting in this production failed to properly showcase her skills. It’s clear though, that snagging Osipova and her partner, Ivan Vasiliev, from the Bolshoi, was a huge victory for the Mikhailovski ballet. Osipova shines particularly in the second act, following her transformation from an disappointed village girl, into the ghostly figure of a Wili (they’re like a cross between a vampire and a zombie, only with infinitely better dancing skills), does Osipova’s talent really shine. Her spins and lifts look truly other-worldly, as they are supposed to and you can almost believe that she isn’t really human anymore.
Ivan Vasiliev makes for a perfect partner, showcasing a strong physique, able to balance out Osipova’s performance perfectly. However, only in the second half can their talent really unfold and mix with the truly spooky atmosphere to turn the ballet from merely a dance into an experience. It is clear that both dancers might be even more striking, if they were put into a more immersive production. Giselle is now over, but if you’re keen to see the company on their current London run, catch this duo in Don Quixote on Saturday and Sunday, and Laurencia on April 2 and 3.
Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.