Ballet West’s latest show, The Sleeping Beauty, has reaffirmed their reputation as the best ballet company in the west. Thanks to the performers, the incredible orchestra, and the beautiful scenery, Ballet West opened to an almost full house.
The Sleeping Beauty tells the tale of the young princess, Aurora, who was cursed at childbirth by a scorned fairy. The curse made her prick her finger when she was 16 and fall into an endless sleep, with only a true love’s kiss to wake her up. Her true love, Prince Desire, finally fights his way to the castle and awakens Aurora. They get married and have an incredible celebration.
Even without the synopsis provided in the program, the choreography of the dance told the story without words. The arm and leg movements showed the audience exactly when they were talking about slumber or how beautiful Aurora was. The expression and passion that all of the dancers had was evident in their talent and technique.
Credit for a fantastic performance has to be given to the dancer who played Aurora, Sara Webb. Sara Webb is a guest to this performance but that does not hinder her dancing. Her demeanor and excitement left me entranced and captivated by her skills. Many times, she roused the audience to applause with her agility and strength with the various moves.
Prince Desire was played by Christopher Rudd, a star dancer at Ballet West. He also impressed the audience with his moving quest for the beautiful princess that he was shown by the fairy of Wisdom.
One of the dancers, who is also worth watching, is the scorned fairy, Carabosse, played by Christiana Bennett. Her theatrical stunts, and accompanying team of dancers who played her minions, created the vision of sadness and bitterness that was her fairy’s main traits.
The only drawback to the dancing was that the chorus line had a few girls who were a few counts off of the choreography, which was only noticeable to the trained eye.
The Utah Chamber Orchestra was the accompanying musical performers. The ballet was played with original music by Tchaikovsky. The conductor is Terence Kern and he filled the Capitol Theatre with rich romantic music from this ballet. The music was timely, lively, and appropriate with the choreography.
Even the costumes and scenery were the perfect match for the perception that Ballet West was trying to set. The correct time period clothing was refreshing and the bright colors and elegant costumes kept the audience lost in the story. The special effects ranged from flash powder to lifting dancers with wires, which were refreshing and surprising.
The dances themselves, which are traditionally monotonous, were exciting and different. The four different parts were entrancing but the last part was magical. The wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Desire had many different celebration dances and different guests. The most notable of this act was the different dances by Prince Floristan, played by Tom Mattingly, Diamond and Gold, both played by Elizabeth Murphy and Whitney Huell. Their dances were compatible with the music and left the audience wide mouthed with the talent and air of celebration.
This ballet is perfect for the time of year, and for anyone who wants to get lost in a story with the performers and the music. This version of Sleeping Beauty is a must see for those who appreciate skill and beauty.
Tickets, which are normally quite pricey, are offered to SLCC students for half price the day of the showing at the box office. For more information about Ballet West’s thrilling performance this week, go to balletwest.org.