‘Sleeping Beauty’ awakens Russian ballet tradition
The State Ballet Theatre of Russia presents “Sleeping Beauty,” a beautiful ballet adapted from the 1800s’ French fairy tale, which includes an exquisite score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky and choreography by the famed Marius Petipa.
“Sleeping Beauty” is presented at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.
The State Ballet Theatre of Russia was founded in 1961 by legendary dancer and prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater Ballet, Maya Plisetskaya, and is now under the direction of Moiseyev dance soloist Nikolay Anokhin. Plisetskaya (1925-2015) was one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century and a true embodiment of the Bolshoi Theater.
The State Ballet is renowned for bringing works of classical Russian composers to audiences around the world. Produced by Artistic Director, Anatoly Emelianov, thes full-scale ballet is based on the Brothers Grimm version of Charles Perrault’s “Little Briar Rose.”
“Sleeping Beauty,” in two acts with prologue, presents the love story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed on her Christening Day by the evil fairy, Carabosse, and succumbs to a 100-year sleeping spell upon her 16th birthday.
Brave Prince Désiré storms the dangerous castle and revives Aurora with a kiss. The newly-awakened court rejoices, a royal wedding ensues and Aurora and Désiré perform a grand Pas de Deux while the ensemble dances.
Principal dancers include Daria Demchenko (Princess Aurora), Valeriy Tselichshev (Prince Desire), Alexey Burakov (King Florestan), Diana Smirnova (The Queen) and Natalia Gubanova (Wicked Fairy, Carabosse).
The original adaption incorporated Perrault’s other fairy tale characters, such as Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, Blue Bird, Grey Wolf and The White Cat, all of which will be portrayed by superb dancers in the State Ballet production.
“Sleeping Beauty” premiered in January 1890 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, Russia. Tchaikovsky’s ballet received more favorable accolades than his previous, “Swan Lake,” and was performed by the Imperial Ballet 200 times in 10 years.
In a phone interview with Igor Levin, president of Hollywood Stars International Management, which is handling the company’s tour, says the State Ballet Theatre of Russia has been performing “Sleeping Beauty” for six years.
“This is the old, traditional style of [ballet] performance,” says Levin, a native of Moscow. “The choreography is from 1890 by Marius Petipa, and the costumes are of the 19th century.”
The enchanting performance is abundant with classically-trained dancers, lavish sets and beautiful costumes.
The story focuses on good versus evil and love conquering all. Remaining true to the original creators is imperative for the State Ballet company. There is no altering of the classic style and presentation.
“For us, we try to keep all [Tchaikovsky’s] choreography traditional,” says Levin.
The United States and Canadian tour began in early December and runs through February, culminating in Princeton, N.J.
Levin thinks that audiences still adore “Sleeping Beauty”:
“First, there is the unbelievable music of Tchaikovsky. Second, there is very good choreography. Lastly, the love story … she came to life.
“It shows how all people would like to be, successful and in love: a dream,” says Levin.
Tickets: State Theatre Center for the Arts box office, 453 Northampton St., Easton; statetheatre.org; 1-800-999-7828; 610-252-3132