Le Corsaire is a feast of dancing. Name your favourite technical challenge and it has got it, especially in the central roles of Conrad, Medora and Ali: their famous pas de trois is an epic showdown of virtuoso dancing. But the fun does not stop with our three heroes: there are plenty more meaty roles in this production.
Just in time for the return of Le Corsaire to Milton Keynes and the London Coliseum in our 70th Anniversary Season, here’s a list compiled by The Ballet Bag of ten jaw-dropping moves to look out for (in no particular order!).
1) The Odalisque pas de trois (Act 1)
Three young women dance in the market square: each has her own difficult solo, showing us that Le Corsaire requires strong dancers in supporting roles. Plus they also have to dance in perfect sync = #squadgoals !
2) Medora’s balances in The Enchanted Garden section (Act 3)
This segment of the ballet takes place in a dream. Medora has to jump, turn and rock some petit allegro, and stay in balance forever, with choreography that is reminiscent of that for the character Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. Yes, she shows us why Le Corsaire is firmly in 19th century ballet territory.
3) Fouettés (Act 2)
Speaking of The Sleeping Beauty, Medora also has a fierce series of fouettés in Act 2, to rival those of the Lilac Fairy (and the Black Swan in Swan Lake)!
4 and 5) Gulnare’s variation (Act 1)
Challenge accepted: Medora’s BFF Gulnare would also hold her own in a pirouette face-off. Her opening pas de deux and variation coda with the slave trader Lankendem is full of tricky phrases like this one, and here Gulnare steps into style with some sautés en pointe. The great Erina Takahashi is making it look easy but we bet that’s gotta hurt.
6) Birbanto’s leaps
How about the guys? While Le Corsaire has two main female roles, it’s got four for men. Baddie Birbanto has some amazing opportunities to show us huge jumps. The first to get a solo in Act 1, he sets the tone for the whole work: fireworks!
7) Lankendem’s tours en l’air
Nailing that fifth: in the role of Lankendem, Dmitri Gruzdyev demonstrates an epic series of tours en l’air. This season sees Guest Artist Brooklyn Mack, Junor Souza and Ken Saruhashi return to the role of Lankendem, while Daniel McCormick and Erik Woolhouse make their debuts in the role.
8) Ali’s splits
Not to be outdone, here’s Junor Souza as Ali rocking the splits (see also entry number 10!)
9) Conrad and Medora’s pas de deux (Act 2)
The hero Conrad has plenty of opportunities to show off. One of our favourite moments is when he lifts Medora to some dizzying heights during a gorgeous, moonlit pas de deux.
10) Ali’s Act 2 variation
And to finish it off in style, we had to list the full variation for Ali the Slave: it’s a staple of ballet competitions, as it showcases a high level of technique. Here’s Junor Souza into “à la seconde” gear… We can’t wait to see Jeffrey Cirio, Ken Saruhashi, Daniel McCormick and Erik Woolhouse perform it this season.