It’s not every day that an audience gets to witness the process and development of artists, which is exactly what we were able to do in this gorgeous performance of this pinnacle ballet.

Ballet West Scotland is a professional ballet school with a difference. Offering aspiring dancers as young as six years old the opportunity to perform on stage – in a touring production – could perhaps be seen as risky, but in fact it was an utter pleasure to see the wee ones giving it their best alongside the esteemed Principal Guest Artists and the graduates of the upper school. The skill even at that age is astonishing – what a privilege to see these young dancers who may well end up as principal dancers themselves someday.

Back in 2018 Ballet West Scotland launched this professional touring company to wide acclaim, with an inaugural production of Swan Lake performed in Malaysia. A year later, they launched an accredited, three-year BA (Hons) Ballet Degree in association with Bath Spa University as well as a teaching qualification in partnership with the Royal Academy of Dance. With their professional schools and outreach programmes, they are a driving force behind inspiring young people to consider dance as a career.

With choreography by Daniel. F. Job based on the original work of Marius Pepita and Lev Ivanov (1895), the primary aim of showcasing the technical abilities was well achieved. I normally look for a bit of boundary pushing and progressivity in art of any medium, however it was a joy to watch this well-known ballet being executed near-perfectly in its traditional form.

Principal Guest Artists Norton Fantinel and Karina Moreira were both astonishing and elegant in their performances and their expression was exceptionally moving. Fantinel’s control was absolute precision, and I was convinced Moreira was feather-light, so soft were her landings.

They were beautifully supported by the exceptional graduates and students who danced this highly technical choreography with grace and ease. Their confidence was remarkable and many of the dancers were not far-off Principal level themselves. Special mention must be made for Rahul Pradeep as Rothbart, who’s creepy, crawling and twisting expression truly made me fear for the fate of the Prince and Princess.

It was striking to see the dancers lined up from junior to senior years in perfect synchronisation – it served well to highlight the finesse and confidence gained over the years spent at the school. The costumes were beautiful, and the simple screen-projected, digital backdrop did well to create atmosphere and setting.

All-in, a wonderful production and showcase of the skill and expertise of dancers across their training and beyond.