There is something therapeutic about the swooshing sound of leaping ballerinas, and the soft thud of satin-wrapped feet as they float back to the floor.

Audible in some parts of The Nutcracker, when the serene chirp of the orchestra ceases ahead of a crescendo, the famous music is familiar even to uncultured souls like myself - easily recognising Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Mostly my brain was silent however, hypnotised by the impossible contortion of limbs and dizzying twirls of the Russian State Ballet of Siberia.

The story starts at a family Christmas party, where children receive presents from a toy-maker. A girl (Marie) falls in love with the Nutcracker toy, which comes to life as night falls and saves her from an army of nasty mice, before turning into a handsome prince.

I would have thought it difficult to stage a fight scene within such an elegant dance - romance, yes; brute violence, surely not. But the creatures managed to scuttle across the stage with a creepy misdemeanor, helped by some gruesome costumes.

In the second act we were taken to a magical place called Fairyland, where ballerinas channel styles from different countries - from Spain to China and Russia - to celebrate victory against the evil mice. At times I found the projected backdrop - a cartoonish animation used to set the scene - slightly distracting from the dancing.

The prince (Yuri Kudriavtsev) and Marie (Ekaterina Bulgutova) each unleashed their talent into impressive solo pieces, pointing and spinning with effortless perfection. As she twirled on the spot to an angelic tune, I was reminded of a long-forgotten jewellery box I had when I was little.

They reunite with a series of aerial lifts, the prince flinging her in the air as if she weighed no more than a feather.The story finishes back in the family home, where - hidden by the toy-maker’s cloak - the prince magically turns back into the Nutcracker.

Sophie Grubb 4/5