I went to see Carolina Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty on opening night Thursday, and I liked it so much I’m going back Saturday. Both the dancers and the orchestra had a few missteps Thursday, a refreshing reminder that these skilled and practiced artists are humans performing live. It was, overall, a remarkable performance of fast and challenging dances, fun characters and awe-inspiring scenes.
The fairies perform a dazzling series of ballet sprints in Act I. Their dances are short and densely packed with flittering toe hops, turns and beats, long extensions that hang in the air, and precision at fast speeds.
These are some fairies and nymphs celebrating Aurora’s birth in Act I.
Cecilia Iliesiu was energy personified as Violente.
The fairies join the royal family to celebrate Aurora’s 16th birthday. The Garland Waltz is a familiar tune and you might be inclined to sing if you’re a Disney fan. Pictured below are Elice McKinley, Lara O’Brien, Cecelia Iliesiu and Alicia Fabry.
Lara O’Brien with her Wisdom as the Lilac Fairy is the real hero of the story. It is she who saves Aurora from death and delivers the floundering prince to where the Aurora sleeps.
An evil fairy is no less a fairy. Here is Lindsay Purrington as Carabosse and her Raven, Eugene C. Barnes, III.
This is only a hint at the size of the expressive and loyal dragon.
Nikolai Smirnov and Amanda Babayan were lively and comical as Puss in Boots and White Cat.
The stars of the night were Margaret Severin-Hansen and Richard Krusch as Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré. Krusch soared far over the stage floor, and Severin-Hansen lit up the stage like never before.
Act III goes on and on; everyone dances and dances again. But their dances are short and lively. This is where the two cats pictured above dance, as well as the Blue Bird and Princess Florine (Sokvannara Sar and Lindsay Turkel), and the fairies return to the stage. For me the last Act is all about the Mazurka which involves twelve wedding guests moving their feet faster than seems humanly possible.
People of any age will be awe-struck by the magic on stage. There is the added bonus of the live music of Tchaikovsky played by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle. It’s the last show of the season and one weekend only at the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. Get more info at http://www.carolinaballet.com/program/sleeping-beauty
Pictures by Denise Cerniglia