Of all Tchaikovsky’s ballets Swan Lake shimmers most brightly in the hearts of audiences.
It is not simply that the music possesses an almost hypnotic quality, but the dance itself is as graceful as the swans it seeks to imitate.
But every production hinges on the supreme artistry of the prima ballerina who plays Odette, Queen of the Swans.
This is a role that demands immense physical strength with an artistic vulnerability.
For Odette is a tragic character. An evil sorcerer holds her under his spell - she and her friends are swans by day and only human at night.
Only true love can remove the curse - a hope cheated from her by the sorcerer when Prince Siegfried falls in love with her.
Moscow City Ballet makes a welcome annual return to Chichester. Audiences owe it much for making so accessible the great ballets.
It is true of any touring production that the set can sometimes seem a little ill-fitting when transferred to the festival theatre stage. This production is no exception.
But Liliia Orekhova’s performance as Odette simply dazzles.
No wonder audiences flock each year to this seasonal tradition. The quality of the company and the dance shines through.