Romantic India provides the setting for one of The Royal Ballet's favourite full-length works: La Bayadère, a tale of love, murder and vengeful judgment by the gods. At the centre of this showcase of classical dancing is the warrior Solor and his love Nikiya, the beautiful temple dancer (bayadère) of the title. Nikiya provokes the murderous jealousy of her wicked rival, Gamzatti, encouraged by the High Brahmin, whose own designs on the bayadère are far from pure. Seeking solace in opium after the death of his love, Solor hallucinates an afterworld - the Kingdom of the Shades - filled with one of classical dance's most famous images as multiple spectral Nikiyas fill the stage. With the collapse of the temple, destroyed by the gods, Solor and Nikiyia are finally reunited as spirits in the next world. Originally choreographed in 1877 by Marius Petipa, La Bayadère was later adapted by The Kirov Ballet and re-created in this three-act version by Natalia Makarova with naturalistic and detailed designs that create a rich setting for an exotic tale. Two star ballerina roles, the epitome of a 'White' ballet and a Bronze Idol, who comes briefly but spectacularly to life, are just some of the elements that make this a perennial favourite of The Royal Ballet repertory.
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