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Carolina Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty | May 20-23


Carolina Ballet will close the twelfth season with the story book classic ballet The Sleeping Beauty to the score by Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky May 20–23, 2010 at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh. The schedule of performances is as follows:

  • Thursday, May 20 at 8pm
  • Friday, May 21 at 8pm
  • Saturday, May 22 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sunday, May 23 at 2pm

During the company’s first ten seasons Carolina Ballet presented several premiere productions of full-evening ballets (Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker and Carmen) with all new choreography by artistic director Robert Weiss. In the case of Sleeping Beauty, however, Weiss was very careful to say that the choreography for Carolina Ballet’s new production in 2008 was “after” the choreography of Marius Petipa, the Russian choreographer of the late 1800’s who collaborated with Tchaikovsky on the original ballet. The News & Observer said after the premiere in 2010 “visually stunning and strongly danced….Sleeping Beauty becomes the crown jewel of its [Carolina Ballet’s] repertory.” The ballet has been called “the grandest, fullest and finest achievement of classical ballet…an enduring inspiration to later choreographers.” Weiss explains that he studied many tapes of old productions and “quickly came to realize that there isn’t much that can be improved upon in the original Petipa choreography.” He goes on to say that “the Rose Adagio, the wedding pas de deux, the Blue Bird pas de deux and the fairy variations are all perfect as he (Petipa) choreographed them so I decided to focus more on the other parts of the ballet to tailor them to Carolina Ballet’s size and needs.”

The story of Sleeping Beauty is as well known to young and old as that of Cinderella. It is the tale of the beautiful Princess Aurora who is cursed by the evil fairy Carabosse; she pricks her finger on a spindle on her 16th birthday, and falls asleep for many years before being awakened by a kiss from a handsome Prince. For Carolina Ballet’s production Robert Weiss expanded the role of Carabosse and that of the Lilac Fairy. He also added a huge dragon (created by Paperhand Puppet Intervention) that the Prince must slay before rescuing the Princess Aurora from the spell. Lilyan Vigo and Margaret Severin-Hansen will dance the role of the Princess Aurora, and Gabor Kapin and Richard Krusch will share the role of the prince.

The Sleeping Beauty score by Tchaikovsky is considered by many to be the greatest ballet score of all time and is as familiar as the story. Petipa and Tchaikovsky worked together to create the original ballet in 1890 for the Maryinski Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. In discussing the history of Sleeping Beauty in The New Yorker in 1973, Andrew Porter said “Petipa told Tchaikovsky exactly how many measures he wanted for each episode, and specified the tempo, the style, even the scoring.” Dancer Rudolph Nureyev, who staged his own version of Sleeping Beauty, said “it is very important to the whole ballet world. It is very long and lush and there is nothing you can really cut.”

Robert Weiss asked his creative team – David Heuvel, Jeff A.R. Jones and Ross Kolman – to design the costumes, scenery and lighting for the production. These three have worked together on such successful and lavish Carolina Ballet productions as Swan Lake, Firebird, Cinderella and Monet Impressions – The Gardens at Giverny. Carolina Ballet also received very valuable support for the scenic elements of the production from the NC State University Department of Textiles.

Ticket prices range from $18-63 and there is a $10 student rush ticket one hour before the show. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Carolina Ballet box office at 919 719-0900 or through Ticketmaster at 919 982-2787 or

Carolina Ballet, Inc. has rapidly taken its place among America’s premier arts organizations. Under the innovative direction of artistic director Robert Weiss, a talented company, fiscally responsible management and community support, Carolina Ballet exposes audiences to traditional ballet by legendary masters and new works of contemporary choreographers. This twelfth season represents the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and ever- increasing quality of life experienced here in North Carolina.

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