IT is always hard to critique a ballet performance because perhaps where as with comedians you could start with “well my five year old makes me laugh more” or with an actor there is the the possibility of them “over-acting” or in some cases “under-acting”.

With ballet, I find, all your senses become lost and enveloped in every slight move that is happening right before you on stage that you forget about the outside world, you forget what it is you came to do – to watch with a critical eye – and you are transported into the world of the story unravelling before you.

At least that is what happens to me and what did happen to me on Monday at The Hexagon when I went to see The Russian State Ballet of Siberia perform Swan Lake.

You know you are seeing a thing of beauty when you do find yourself lost in the dancing and music.

The dancers on Monday captivated the audience with their re-telling of the classic ballet by Tchaikovsky. It is hard not to be held with this ballet. The music is like a dream sequence of youth as some of the most recognisable pieces of classical music play out from the pit and soothe their way into your ears and conscience. Even if you know nothing about ballet you will acknowledge this music and know the sounds.

And then as the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer, unravels some of the most famous dances including the four swans linked in arms gliding onto the stage appear before your eyes.

It has been re-enacted by many including Morcombe and Wise so as soon as you see it live on stage in the setting it was intended, again it is like putting on that familiar Sunday jumper and settling down with a hot chocolate to watch your favourite afternoon movie. You know where you are in the world, you feel safe with what is happening and you are comforted.

The ballerinas on Monday were enticing, enchanting and incredibly talented.

One can only marvel at the pirouettes and in this case, with a spectacular use of set, a fight scene amongst the white and black swans which had me setting on the edge of my seat, gripped to the end.

If you frequently go to the ballet you will understand my sense of loss – not in the unknowing of what is going on, but in that stepping out of reality into a dream world of dancing. If you are new to ballet or feel like giving it a must. Even if for a slight second of indulgence into a land of beauty and escapism.

And at Theatre Royal Windsor next week will be your chance to see a ballet when the Vienna Festival Ballet (VFB) returns with its traditional and enchanting production of Sleeping Beauty.

A classic fairy tale set to Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning choreography and beautiful costumes combine to portray the struggle between good and evil.

Over the last 34 years, the company has attracted many famous choreographers and dancers to work with them, including; Nicolas Beriosoff , Terence Etheridge, Shirley Graeme, Sheila Styles, Vyvyan Lorraine and Ursula Hageli.

Today, the company is comprised of an array of talented dancers from all over the world. Emily-Joy Smith has been a part of the company for two years, and said: “I love working with VFB, we bring ballet to so many different areas, especially places that wouldn’t get to see ballet if we didn’t perform there.

Knowing you have children, some of whom have left thinking, “I’m going to be a ballet dancer one day,” after watching one of our productions is such a wonderful thing.”

Although they have toured extensively throughout Europe and overseas, VFB primarily tour the entire country during spring and autumn.

Their central tenet is bringing the classics to both big cities and smalls towns so that everybody gets to experience the ballet where they may not necessarily have had the opportunity to see them before. Gill Mallek, the company’s executive director said: “A lot of the bigger companies cannot perform in smaller venues. We’ve tailored our productions so that we are able to adjust the ballet to fit all different sizes of stage. This means we can bring ballet as close to home for our audiences as possible, so they don’t have extra travel costs and long journeys. They can see a very high standard of ballet at an affordable price on their doorstep.”

The Vienna Festival Ballet Sleeping Beauty with music by Tchaikovsky is at Theatre Royal Windsor from Tuesday, March 3 until Saturday, March 7 at 7.30pm with matinees on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday on 2.30pm. Tickets cost from £14.50. Visit or call 01753 853888.

Rebecca Curley