Rebirthing Tchaikovsky’s classic, The Sleeping Beauty was a charming, magical and sleek performance from Saint Petersburg Ballet. Combining graceful choreography, excellent music and a well-loved story, the audience were swept away from the beginning.
The christening of Princess Aurora (played by Margarita Demjanoka-Skutelska) in the Royal Palace descends into chaos when the Master of the Ceremonies forgets to invite the evil fairy Carabosse (Evgeniy Silakov). In revenge she casts a wicked curse on the baby; on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a poisoned spindle and die. However, the Lilac fairy soon intervenes, meaning Aurora will instead fall into a slumber of 100 years, only to be woken again by the kiss of Prince Florimund (Petr Borchenko).
“The story was secondary to the spectacular dancing”
For me though, the story was secondary to the spectacular dancing. Within minutes I was mesmerised by and lost in watching the dancers perform, focused on every movement. Each extension was expressed with utter care and elegance. The soloist fairies in the first act particularly stood out, each delivering a beautifully sleek routine with a different piece of music that highlighted the personalities of their characters. There were a few small mistakes in the show, but the professionalism of the dancers was evident regardless of this.
“The Hungarian Sinfonietta Orchestra brought the memorable music of famous Russian composer Tchaikovsky to life fantastically”
Another one of the most impressive parts of the performance was the music. Conducted by Vadim Perevoznikov, the Hungarian Sinfonietta Orchestra brought the memorable music of famous Russian composer Tchaikovsky to life fantastically. The dancers’ synchronicity and musicality in response to the orchestra was also highly commendable.
“The costumes were truly dazzling”
The costumes and set of the performance complimented the ballet perfectly, alongside the magnificent Royal Concert Hall venue. The costumes were truly dazzling, with leotards and tutus of every colour, designed with intricate detail highlighted under the lights. These designs were matched by the extravagant set, alternating from the palace setting to the enchanting forest where Aurora meets her Prince. After hunting in the woods, a vision of the Princess appears to him from the Lilac Fairy in a gorgeous, dream-like scene.
“Playful and entertaining, these fairy tale characters were fully embraced by the dancers”
As well as the classic ballet choreography, there were comedic appearances from Puss in Boots and his cat companion and Red Riding Hood and the wolf in Act 3, where they arrive to celebrate the marriage of Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund. Playful and entertaining, these fairy tale characters were fully embraced by the dancers.
“Demonstrating how the art of ballet can display the most striking of emotions”
Ballet is the most technically challenging form of dance, and the commitment and strength of these dancers was immediately made clear. Expressing the story without words and through only the medium of dance is highly skilful, demonstrating how the art of ballet can display the most striking of emotions. I only wished I could have seen more solo performances to emphasise the skill of each individual dancer.
Overall, The Sleeping Beauty was entertaining from start to finish, appealing to a wide audience of those both familiar with ballet and even those not accustomed to its style. Each member of the corps de ballet demonstrated their talent and passion for classical ballet.
Featured image courtesy of Theatre Royal via Facebook.