SWAN Lake and The Nutcracker were back in town as the Theatre Royal Bath welcomed two of the world’s most popular classical ballets.

This time, they were performed by The International Classic Ballet Theatre, accompanied by a live orchestra in a run that lasts until tonight.

The company was selected by Georgia-born Artistic Director, Marina Medvetskaya, a former prima ballerina of the Tbilisi State Academic Opera and Ballet.

Each dancer was apparently chosen for their grace, skill and athleticism, essential for the classical style of ballet presented.

But it rather looks as though their long tour of the UK and the USA last year has taken its toll as their performance in The Nutcracker on Tuesday looked positively lack-lustre.

The fairy tale plot of The Nutcracker usually produces a festive ballet full of magic and wonder, with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s wonderful composition telling the enchanting tale of Clara’s adventures with her Nutcracker Prince.

When Clara’s Nutcracker doll comes to life on Christmas Eve, his daring battle with the Mouse King is just the start of the excitement, before Clara is whisked off to the Land of Snow and greeted by dancing snowflakes.

After the interval, Clara and the Nutcracker arrive in the Kingdom of Sweets where they witness a series of dances from around the world, including an Arabian princess, Russian Cossacks and, of course, the famous Sugar Plum Fairy.

Generally, audiences are treated to a host of spectacular dances that complete an extraordinary night before Clara wakes to wonder if it’s all been a dream.

Sadly, Tuesday’s performance didn’t quite match expectations, with the dancers seemingly lacking the emotional involvement one normally associates with Tchaikovsky’s music.

Arissa Hashimoto gives a lively and skilled performance as Clara, but her Nutcracker Prince Yassaui Mergaliyev often seemed to be ‘going through the motions’ for most of the evening.

Only Azamat Askarov as Drosselmeier,  Kaskyrbay Yeskali as the Arabian Doll and Laura Glare and Azamat Markeev as the Russian dancers helped to lift the production.

Overall, this production looked to be an ‘end of tour’ performance from tired dancers. The choreography was less than exciting and the set and costumes were disappointing to say the least.

The applause at the finale was polite rather than ecstatic and I wouldn’t rush back to see this company again.