English National Ballet – Le Corsaire @ Milton Keynes Theatre 20.11.2019

Set sail on an energetic and exciting dance adventure

Did you know the Milton Keynes Theatre has got a special history with the English National Ballet?

Me neither but last night I learned that the ENB’s Le Corsaire world premiered at Milton Keynes Theatre in 2013.

That must’ve meant big dancing ballet eyes from across the globe were all looking towards Milton Keynes, well at the ENB dancers, but you know what I mean.

Pretty cool, huh?

Le Corsaire is back in MK this week for a four day run and I couldn’t wait to see it!

Wanna know what it’s about? Here’s the official trailer. 👇🏻

It’s a ballet in three acts and there’s two intervals!

Coincidence that my first ever two interval show at MK Theatre was only last week (Glyndebourne’s Rinaldo) and now they’re springing up or in this case jeté-ing all over the place. 

This is a very exciting piece of ballet to watch and for a number of reasons..

Here’s the synopsis:

Conrad is a pirate. Medora is his love who has been sold to the Pasha (local government royalty type bigwig) after trying to escape her slaveowner. 

Conrad orders the pirates to save Medora and capture her, who do so but when his second in command commits anonymous mutiny, Medora is once again stolen, leaving Conrad to declare he will rescue her again. 

The Pasha is ecstatic to see Medora’s return and promises to make her his most treasured wife. He smokes an opium pipe to celebrate and crazy dreams ensue. 

Conrad and his pirates return to the palace and trick their way to the Pasha with hidden identities. When they are unhooded, the Pasha gets chased away and the pirates are victorious, that is, until Conrad discovers the truth that his second in command Birbanto is a traitor and Conrad shoots him. 

Conrad, Medora, Ali (a slave who has helped them from the beginning) and Gulnare (another slave girl bought by the Pasha) escape and set sail on the seas. 

There’s mishaps, comedy, stunning costumes (its set in the Ottoman Empire so modern-day Turkey and neighbouring countries) so the costumes really are beautiful. Think dropped waist belly dancer kinda costumes, costumes that you can hear when the hips move, ornate patterns and rich colours.

There’s swords clashing together and fights! RAWR! Then there’s tender loving moments. Bits that will make you laugh and bits that will make you gasp.

It’s because of this exciting story that it’s described as a ballet for all, and while it may be easy to understand that doesn’t mean it’s an ‘easy’ ballet to perform.

Le Corsaire is filled with the most technical dancing. There are moments where your breath is taken away and other moments when you forget to breathe at all.

There’s truly stunning dancing from the soloists, particularly Lead Principe Erina Takahashi who plays Medora who made every move look effortless.

With full orchestral support from the English National Ballet Philharmonic Orchestra it was a beautiful production and now I know the special history, I admit, it does make seeing it at Milton Keynes Theatre all that more special.

Le Corsaire is at Milton Keynes Theatre 20 – 23 November 2019.

For full transparency, tickets to the show were kindly gifted to me from Milton Keynes Theatre.

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