Review: The Sleeping Beauty presented by Alberta Ballet

the sleeping beautyI kept glancing over at my daughters, seated on either side of me, and smiled as I watch their eyes trained hard on the stage. Occasionally, one would raise an arm or point a toe, as if dancing along with the company. They were completely captivated by the magic created by Alberta Ballet in the exquisite new production of The Sleeping Beauty.

I am not a ballerina, nor do I consider myself well-versed in the world of dance, so my opinion is purely that of a layperson – but I do know that the performance I saw presented at Edmonton’s Jubilee Auditorium was nothing short of breathtaking. The historic story of The Sleeping Beauty was brought to life masterfully by this company. Every turn, every leap, every reach of the arm and point of the toe, carefully, perfectly, beautifully crafted. In my view, the greatest achievement of this company is that a performance filled with such athletic and technically challenging moves was made to look so smooth, so graceful, so fluid and so flawless.

the sleeping beauty

The Sleeping Beauty, photo courtesy Alberta Ballet

This performance features classic, regal costuming, and a unique, stunning set, created specifically to give an Alberta flair to this timeless tale. Dancer after dancer steals the show. It goes without saying that Princess Aurora and Prince Desire lit up the stage. I loved the solos by all the fairies, but the Lilac Fairy deserves special mention for her ability to project such joy with every step. The antics of The White Cat and Puss in Boots had the audience laughing, and the crowd was suitably impressed by the remarkable and robust efforts of Princess Florine and The Blue Bird.

The ballet booklet we picked up on our way into the theatre urged us to watch for the Rose Adagio in act two – the sequence in which Princess Aurora performs a complicated series of balances in “attitude” (en pointe with one leg lifted high behind her) as her potential suitors present her with flowers. It’s described as a true test of a classically trained ballerina, and it was most impressive to watch this artist look so completely calm and comfortable while every muscle in her body was no doubt on fire!

The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty, photo courtesy Alberta Ballet

As we left the Jubilee, I asked my almost-four-year-old daughters about their favourite parts of the ballet. My A adored Little Red Ridinghood and the Big Bad Wolf, and thought it was hilarious that Red outsmarted the Wolf by leaving behind her empty picnic basket. My E had a simpler taste – she loved how the male dancers would help the female dancers twirl. (She also loved the ju-jubes I bought to help us get through the second half of the performance. It was a wonderful mother-daughters night out, but a little tough for my two to make it through a show that started at their bed time!)

All in all, The Sleeping Beauty is a glorious achievement for Alberta Ballet. This harmony of beauty and brawn, blended so majestically, is truly a special treat that’s not to be missed.

The Sleeping Beauty presented by Alberta Ballet:

When: November 1 to 4, 2018
Time: Thursday and Friday 7:30 pm; Saturday 2 pm and 7:30 pm; Sunday 2 pm
Where: Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, 11455 – 87 Avenue, Edmonton

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