One thing's for sure with a Northern Ballet production - you know you're in for something different.
And Swan Lake is no exception.
It's one of the most famous ballets and even if you've never seen it, you probably know it's something to do with a tragic love story involving a swan.
The original story is of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse, and Prince Seigfried, who falls in love with her. He is tricked into breaking his vow of love by the sorcerer and his daughter, Odile, who is Odette's double. The story has various endings - none of them good - but it always spells tragedy for the two central characters.
Reimagined by Northern Ballet, the story follows a young man called Anthony, who's haunted by a tragedy from his past. He's confused by his feelings for his two best friends, Simon and Odilia - and this results in heartbreak and sadness for all concerned.
Odette features as a mystical swan-like creature who helps him find peace among the sadness and turmoil. I won't spoil the ending for you but it doesn't stray too far from the original.
As a contemporary ballet company, Northern Ballet's choreography brings in non-classical elements and it makes it far more accessible to people like me, who don't have a great understanding of ballet (having refused to go back after my one and only class aged four!)
Despite my lack of interest as a child, I'm now a big fan of Northern Ballet and I really love how they often choose non-traditional stories as inspiration for their productions, such as the Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights and 1984.
See pictures from the production below
Premier dancers Tobias Batley and Martha Leebolt take the parts of Prince Seigfried and Odette and both are beautiful dancers - it's a pleasure and a joy to watch them. Tobias conveys Anthony's turmoil, joy and anguish beautifully in his body language, or just a look.
Ayami Miyata and Nicola Gervasi as Odilia and Simon give beautiful performances. The tension between the prince and Simon is beautifully portrayed, as is Odilia's grief as she's rejected by the prince. His mother's shock at catching the prince and Simon in a compromising moment, and her concern as Odilia gushes about their speedy engagement, is wonderfully acted in just a few glances by Pippa Moore.
The set and costumes are very pretty - the stage has a shimmer which gives the illusion of water, and there was a tangle of branches covered in colourful leaves hanging overhear
I thought the original musical score may have been quite restrictive to the modern choreography, as some of the scenes felt quite long. But, as always, the performance was stunning - it's no surprise Northern Ballet was named Europe's best dance company in the Taglioni European Ballet Awards.
Met with rapturous applause at the Grand Theatre, Leeds, it was an exceptional production by a world class ballet company, which is without doubt a feather in the cap for Yorkshire's arts scene.
- Northern Ballet's Swan Lake is at Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday March 12. Click here for tickets.