Bolshoi in London Roundup

Following a 3-year gap London ballet audiences finally got the Bolshoi back in town for summer. A long season at Covent Garden meant we had plenty of time to see an enticing mix of well-crafted reconstructions, heritage ballets, contemporary pieces and world class performers. Here we recap on our favorite moments of the tour:

Linda saw:

  • Spartacus (Vasiliev / Kaptsova / Allash)
  • Coppélia (Osipova / Skvortsov)
  • 2x Serenade/Giselle (Osipova / Skvortsov – Nikulina / Volchkov)
  • Petrushka / Russian Seasons / Paquita
  • 2x Le Corsaire (Alexandrova / Tsiskaridze – Osipova / Vasiliev)
  • Don Quixote (Krysanova / Mercuriev)

Ivan Vasiliev as Petroushka & Nina Kaptsova as Ballerina. Photo: Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theatre ©

L’s favorite moments:

The very Russian triple bill. Ratmansky’s Russian Seasons was a real modern masterpiece. The colorful restored Benois sets for Petrushka brought back memories of Russian tales heard in my childhood, while the opulent grandeur of Paquita simply made me want to jump with excitement and joy.

Natalia Osipova’s Giselle. Everyone knew she could jump but what amazed us the most was her transformation from a sickly, heartbroken peasant girl to the airiest and most powerful of Wilis.

Masha Alexandrova. In Paquita, she was the diva who brought real ballerina authority to the stage and her Medora was a delight: regal, charming and poised. A true prima.

Maria Alexandrova as Paquita. Photo: Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theatre ©

Ivan Vasiliev’s flying Spartacus. Every blockbuster needs a great action hero to lure in the crowds. The only thing missing at this Hollywood-worthy performance? The popcorn.

Ekaterina Krysanova and Andrei Mercuriev’s partnership. While their rapport in Russian Seasons was evident, their Don Q was a lesson in classical purity, outstanding technique and burning chemistry. They were well rewarded  (and seemed genuinely surprised) with a massive sunflower throw.

Reconstructions. The charming Coppélia, the impressive Le Corsaire, the lavish Paquita Grand Pas proved that sometimes it pays to look back at the past.

Emilia saw:

E’s favorite moments:

Every second of Ratmansky’s masterpiece Russian Seasons, even though on second night the first minutes of virtuoso violins were almost ruined by a determined bag-fumbling woman around us. From Mercuriev’s powerful dancing to Krysanova’s fluid line the Bolshoi filled it with Russian soul and made a work originally choreographed on NYCB their own.

Artists of the Bolshoi Ballet in Ratmansky's Russian Seasons. Photo: Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theatre ©

The way Natalia Osipova as Giselle took flight: spinning the fastest attitude turns and, seconds later, soaring high with her miraculous jump. The audience’s collective heart must have skipped a beat or two.

Shhh! Silence! The corps de ballet shoes in Serenade… were these the quietest pointe shoes ever or was their sound drowned by the orchestra’s impassioned reading of Tchaikovsky?

The Royal Opera House crowds roaring at Osipova and Vasiliev’s Don Quixote. Most of all I loved Osipova’s relevé passés in superhuman tempo as well as her fouettés which spun faster and steadier than Cobb’s top.

The Vikharev reconstructed Copp̩lia was a feast for the eyes. It had the best folk dancing one can ever hope to see in a ballet production, the prettiest costumes and Рher again РNatalia Osipova as a delicious Swanilda.

Natalia Osipova as Swanilda. Photo: Damir Yusupov / Bolshoi Theatre ©

We also asked our Twitter followers to share their favorite moments with us; they answered:

  • Masha Alexandrova’s Medora
  • Natalia Osipova in everything she did but especially her Giselle
  • Anastasia Stashkevich’s tremendous Swanilda in Coppelia
  • Ekaterina Krysanova & Andrei Mercuriev’s chemistry in Don Q.
  • Ivan Vasiliev & Alexander Volchkov in Spartacus
  • The glorious Russian Seasons & Paquita Grand Pas

Feel free to use the comment form below and let us know your own Bolshoi favorite moments this season.

We started The Ballet Bag in April 2009 with the mission to prove that ballet is not stuffy, old fashioned and inaccessible; that it is quite the opposite: relevant, fresh and topical. With the aim to Give Ballet a New Spin we try to show it under a different light. When writing our capsule biographies, ballet fact cards, review roundups and commentary on social media, we cross it over with other art forms and cultural references (pop culture, cinema, rock music – ie. other things we love!).


  • March 6, 2011


    Nooooo… I wish the Bolshoi would come back!

  • [...] Russian Seasons – Bolshoi in London round-up [...]

  • September 13, 2010

    Giselle: Fab or Fail?

    [...] their Russian Giselles to London. Despite very touching, wonderful performances by Irina Perren and Natalia Osipova in the title role, we missed some of the ballet’s key [...]

  • August 23, 2010

    Cult Blog Post of the Week

    [...] on the heels of the ballet reconstruction trend which hit London this summer (thanks to the Bolshoi and the Mikhailovsky Ballet), You Dance Funny’s Steve Ha brainstorms about authenticity in [...]

  • August 12, 2010

    The Bolshoi Ballet

    [...] means big, an adjective that perfectly describes this ballet company. As the recent London season proves, they are bold, stylish and know how to put on a show.  They are also resilient, having [...]