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Wonderful Baffling Ballet And Lemons: Diana Vishneva

Laura Dodge
By Laura Dodge Last edited 23 months ago
Wonderful Baffling Ballet And Lemons: Diana Vishneva ★★★☆☆ 3

Diana Vishneva in Woman In A Room, part of her On The Edge double bill. Photo by Gene Schiavone.

Londonist Rating: ★★★☆☆

"If life gives you lemons, make lemonade," goes the well-known adage. Metaphorically speaking, dancer Diana Vishneva has been given no such lemons — her pliable, long-limbed body and captivating stage presence has made her an international ballet star. But when presented with literal lemons on-stage, she chops these in half then gives them out to the audience (sadly, we didn't get any).

So ends Vishneva's On The Edge at the London Coliseum, a double bill made up of Carolyn Carlson's Woman In A Room (which features the lemons) and Jean Christophe Maillot's Switch. The choreography is baffling and overly long, but the star's effortless execution and expressiveness is undeniably wonderful.

In Woman in a Room, Vishneva explores a lifetime of dreams, hopes and regrets with only a table, an array of costumes and some citrus fruits as props. She guides us through a contrasting range of emotions and movement styles from the depressed and repressed to the sensual and downright silly, culminating in the mass lemon-sharing.

With a similarly introspective focus, Switch attempts to explore the sacrifices dancers have to make for their art, with Gaetan Morlotti and Bernice Coppieters representing a loved-up couple Vishneva envies. Choreography descends into almost menage-a-trois territory, but ends with a beautiful display of power, fury and frustration in which Vishneva drapes her body around a ballet barre.

As she finally takes off her ballet shoes and hangs them up, it's impossible not to wonder if she is thinking about retiring from the stage. We can only hope we'll see plenty more of her before she does.

Diana Vishneva's On the Edge is at the London Coliseum until 18 April. Tickets are available on the ENO website. Londonist received a complimentary ticket to review the show.

Last Updated 15 April 2015