No - not the Shopping Centre in Essex. It's quite some time since I stood at the barre dressed in a turquoise leotard for my ballet lessons. I was a student who whilst attentive, lacked promise (in large part due to the fact that I was, even then, rather tall). I have however never stopped enjoying ballet. I found myself struggling to stand after the English National Ballet's epic performance of Swan Lake at the Albert Hall. Performed in-the-round with no less than sixty swans (and at times more than 120 dancers on stage), it was the most extraordinary evening. The largest production of its kind, and certainly London's dance event of the summer, I had been looking forward to it since excitedly booking tickets with a girlfriend on a dreary March morning.
With the dry ice smoke covering the sizeable stage the lines between observation and involvement were less straightforward as you felt invited into the scene which was unfolding amongst us with such graceful intensity. By the time we paused for the first of two intervals, I was completely spellbound. At points during the Act III pas de deux I struggled to catch my breath.
Fate shone upon us as brightly as the sensational lighting, as we got to see Tamara Rojo partner the astonishing visitor Matthew Golding to perform as the Swan Queen. Having become Artistic Director of the Ballet last year, she excelled any expectations we might have brought with us to SW7. A magical reminder of the rich pickings available here on my doorstep.