Anniversary delights at Hatch ballet

WHEN the Covent Garden Dance Company celebrates its tenth anniversary of Ballet at Hatch, near Tisbury, from 25th to 28th July, the audience is in for a memorable evening, with exciting new works and an appearance by Xander Parish, one of the principals of Russia’s famous Mariinsky Ballet, and the only British dancer in the company.

The Mariinsky Ballet is arguably the most celebrated ballet company in Russia and maybe the world. Steeped in legend and history the company is a daunting place for any aspiring Russian dancer to join – let alone an Englishman from Yorkshire.

With his early training at the Royal Ballet School, Xander joined the Royal Ballet company in 2005. Five years later, while still in the corps de ballet, he was talent-scouted by the Mariinsky’s now director, Yuri Fateyev, and became the first British dancer to join the St Petersburg company.

Covent Garden Dance Company, founded by artistic director Matt Brady, has worked with Xander on a number of occasions but this is the first time he has been available to dance in the 17th century Dutch walled garden at Hatch House.

Xander’s repertoire include Swan Lake, La Sylphide, The Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, Le Corsaire, The Nutcracker, Spartacus, Romeo and Juliet and many more. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2019 New Year’s Honours, for services to dance and UK/Russia cultural relations.

Leading dancers at this year’s ballet at Hatch include Lauren Cuthbertson and Steven McRae (Royal Ballet), Xander Parish and Maria Khoreva (Mariinsky), Mara Galeazzi and Ksenia Ovsyanick.

The evenings, which also include a gourmet three-course dinner, will include new work choreographed by several of the dances, as well as Wayne McGregor’s Qualia, Juliano Nunes’ Closure (which will be danced by Parish and Khoreva), Petipa’s White Adagio from Swan Lake (Cuthbertson and Nicol Edmunds) and Eric Gauthier’s 101 (Parish).

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Pictured: Xander Parish and Maria Khoreva.