Executing Charles Perrault’s ageless fairytale through stunning costumes and superb skill, Ballet West performed “The Sleeping Beauty” with whimsical finesse during their opening weekend. Cast members are labeled based on who was performing the night of this review.
“The Sleeping Beauty” tells the story of Princess Aurora (Katherine Lawrence) and her fanciful array of friends and enemies. As an infant, Aurora is blessed by the Fairies of Kindness, Joy, Beauty and Temperament (Katlyn Addison, Jenna Rae Herrera, Sayaka Ohtaki and Gabrielle Salvatto respectively), with good and plentiful gifts. When Carabosse, the Fairy of Jealousy (Allison DeBona), arrives Aurora is cursed with a spell. Should she prick her finger on a spindle certain death shall befall her. To save Aurora and the fate of the kingdom, Lilac Fairy, Fairy of Wisdom (Emily Adams), merely causes a deep sleep to come upon the princess. She is later awoken by true love’s kiss.
This classic story is well known. There are certain elements to Perrault’s fairytale and Adam Sklute, CEO and Artistic Director of Ballet West’s depiction of “Sleeping Beauty,” that will take you by delightful surprise. Aurora’s suits are one of those. The Princes of the North, South, East and West (Chase O’Connell, Christopher Rudd, Rex Tilton and Christopher Sellars respectively), and the host of wedding guests that come to honor Aurora and her true love, Prince Desire (Adrian Fry), near the conclusion of the production are another.
The principal dancers in this production filled the stage with energy, unity and beauty. The staging and choreography for the Prologue and Act II are by Pamela Robinson-Harris and Acts I and III by Mark Goldweber. Both burst with detail and intricate moves. The Rose Adagio that the princess performs in Act I is considered one of the most difficult adagios in any ballet.
Central in the dynamic feel of this fairytale portrayal were the diverse and vibrant costumes by Peter Cazalet. Wonderful light color schemes illuminated Princess Aurora throughout her journey, while a deep green set Carabosse apart from the other fairies. Adding to the wide array of costumes was the brilliant use of various masks, designed by Logan Long and on point lighting design by Kevin Dreyer.
Performing Tchaikovsky’s score with spirit and wonderfully balanced harmony, the Ballet West Orchestra, directed by Tara Simoncic, was the underlying success of this production. Various soloists shined throughout the piece, immersing the dancers in a wonderful spotlight.
Of particular note were Christopher Sellars and Arolyn Williams as the Bluebird and Princess Florine in the wedding scene of Act III. Their multiple duets were powerful and made for an invigorating end to the production.
With a running time of a little over two and a half hours, “The Sleeping Beauty” runs fairly long, but the length is seemingly inconsequential due to the well-paced story line and superb choreography.
Ballet West has combined a wonderful array of production aspects that flow seamlessly together allowing for the dancers to truly embody their characters and depict Princess Aurora’s story with ease, beauty and breathtaking talent.
“The Sleeping Beauty” will be running Feb. 10-26 at the Capitol Theater. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Single tickets range from $30 to $80 and are available through ArtTix at www.arttix.org or by calling (801) 355-ARTS. Discounts are also available for groups of 15 or more by calling Ballet West at (801) 323-6900.