To me going to the ballet is more than watching a dance performance, it’s about the whole experience of the evening. The dancing is important of course, but there is this feeling- the excited little girls bouncing eagerly around their mothers and the groups of girlfriends (both young and old) all dressed up and walking into the glimmering entrance of the State Theatre… It creates a certain buzz, something that makes you feel just a little bit extra special for that evening. This is definitely the feeling when going to watch The Russian Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty.
I guess I was feeling extra sentimental as I attended this performance with one of my oldest best friends, her sister and her mother, who had taken us all to see a ballet (we think it may have been Nutcracker) when we were those little excited girls twirling around and practicing our pirouettes. I think we were all just as excited now as we were then.
The ballet itself follows that well-loved story of young princess doomed to prick her finger and fall into an endless sleep, only to awake at true love’s kiss.
In this version we meet an array of beautiful dancing fairies who each bestow their own special gifts upon the young child, and who reappear throughout her youth to dance by her side. It is these fairies that also mitigate the harsh spell of “Maleficent” and who eventual guide the Prince to the Princesses side. Each fairy has a unique dancing style, which is demonstrated through solo pieces. The lead fairy (the Lilac Fairy) is stunning, with the longest legs which beautifully extend out as she glides across the stage.
Sleeping Beauty herself is utterly captivating, her movements so fluid and the smile on her face betraying none of their difficulty. There are several occasions when she stands on point to be twirled around by partner after partner and the utter strength and balance is breathtaking. When she dances with the Prince for the first time she has already been placed under the spell and, although guided by his hand, she performs with her eyes closed. A fairly impressive feat considering the length and intricacies of the dance.
The ballet works its way through blending storyline with solo performances. It’s a pretty story made even prettier by glittering tutus and tiaras. I’m not exactly sure why there was a pair of cats and little red riding hood and her wolf… but let’s just run with that. They danced well anyway.
Being honest though I think my favourite part of this production was Sleeping Beauty’s ballerina bun, which was seemingly made entirely out of glitter.
Sleeping Beauty was a special one-night-only performance as part of the Australian tour, which continues through to December. For a full list of locations and performance dates visit www.russiannationalballettheatre.com.au
The reviewer attended the performance at the State Theatre on the 9th October.