Kings of the Dance

Kings of the Dance, Coliseum - dance review
Author: Lyndsey Winship
Date: March 20, 2014
Publisher: The Evening Standard

Kings of the Dance
Seductive: Ivan Vasiliev with Svetlana Lunkina in Le Jeune Homme et la Mort by Roland Petit
Photo © Tristram Kenton

Five of the world’s top male ballet dancers are on stage tonight, but all eyes are on Ivan Vasiliev. Best known for ditching the Bolshoi Ballet with then-girlfriend Natalia Osipova to pursue an international career, Vasiliev continues to barrel through the ballet world, and across the stage, like a human cyclone.

Throughout the evening, his sheer intensity and explosive power steals the show — at one point, he seems to jump his own height (he’s not very tall, but still) — but this showcase of the male dancer is not just about macho muscle-flexing. Marcelo Gomes, Leonid Sarafanov and Denis Matvienko demonstrate grace and clarity in Nacho Duato’s Remanso, and Roberto Bolle dances with his on-screen doppelgänger in an interesting meshing of film and dance by Italian choreographer Massimiliano Volpini.

The highlight is a classic Roland Petit piece, Le Jeune Homme et la Mort, a story of sex and death by Jean Cocteau, in which Vasiliev gets to smoke moodily, be seduced by an Uma Thurman-lookalike (circa Pulp Fiction), and show off his angst-filled soul alongside some killer moves.

Ultimately, the dancers are stronger than some of the choreography, but there’s plenty of talent on this stage.