Yesterday evening, as the sun slowly dipped over Hyde Park, English National Ballet celebrated its 60th Anniversary London season with an exclusive celebrity party at The Dorchester, followed by a performance of Swan Lake in-the-round at the Royal Albert Hall.
As you’ll hear, the word “breathtaking” cropped up time and again when I talked to guests about the show.
One of London’s most elegant venues, the ambience at The Dorchester is set the minute you arrive, with liveried doorman smartly opening limousine doors, escorting invited guests past the waiting paparazzi.
Inside, guests enjoyed a party atmosphere, sipping champagne.
The circulating canapés were popular with guests including Florence Welch, Damian Lewis, Jo Wood, Tom Chambers and his wife Clare, Henry Holland, Rupert Graves with his lovely young daughter, a heavily pregnant Nicola Stephenson, Olivia Hallinan and Beverley Knight.
But this is a Swan Lake party, and so two English National Ballet dancers, the lovely Venus Villa (First Artist) and Araminta Wraith (Artist), attended the party wearing their beautiful Swan tutus.
In addition, both dancers sparkled in designs by jeweller Peter Lang, who is the first choice for Australian fashion stylists and magazine editors (with celebrity fans such as Kylie Minogue, Liv Tyler, Jerry Hall and Nicole Kidman) and who is launching his first European collection, coinciding with Autumn/Winter 2010.
The tutus attracted much attention, especially from actress Helen Worth, and you can read the ‘story of a Swan Lake tutu’ here.
Guests were treated to an exclusive English National Ballet goodie bag, containing, among other treats, Brown and Harris products.
Dawn McDaid, creator of Brown & Harris says, “We are genuinely very proud to sponsor English National Ballet and are thrilled to be involved in such a fantastic organisation. We are so pleased to be able to help support its events such as the Swan Lake Celeb Party that was hosted so beautifully yesterday evening. The performance of Swan Lake was breathtaking and we are so pleased to be able to give something back to the talented dancers by gifting them with our products.”
A routemaster bus then whisked the guests to the Royal Albert Hall to watch a performance of English National Ballet’s Swan Lake in-the-round.
The Company’s young star, Vadim Muntagirov, danced the Principal role, with Guest Principal Polina Semionova as his Odette/Odile.
You can read a review of the First Night performance (casting was Muntagirov/Daria Klimentová) here.
After the show actor Damian Lewis said “I thought the performance was stunning and beautiful. The two Principals were exquisite. I’ve never seen so many swans on stage before and it was breathtaking to watch.”
This production of Swan Lake has been choreographed by Derek Deane to fill the vast ovalness of the Royal Albert Hall stage.
There are 60 swans on stage together; probably the only time you’ll see so many beside an atmospheric, moonlit lake.
Actors Charlotte Riley and Tom Hardy were among the guests and afterwards Charlotte said, “it was truly magical and beautiful, we had the most fantastic evening.”
There are a couple of performances left – the run closes on Saturday, so be quick if you don’t want to miss this treat.
More photographs are available from Robert Griffin, so please do get in touch if you’d like to know more.
The last word has to go to English National Ballet’s Managing Director, Craig Hassall, as he invited guests to board the routemaster bus and join him at the Royal Albert Hall, explaining the magic of Swan Lake in-the-round.