Russian National Ballet brings classic ‘Sleeping Beauty’ to Ford Center

Posted on Apr 25 2017 - 7:59am by Hannah Willis

The Ford Center will host the Russian National Ballet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for their performance of “Sleeping Beauty.”

Premiered in St. Petersburg in 1890, “Sleeping Beauty” has become one of the most famous classical ballet pieces of all time.

The ballet was not an immediate success, but eventually came to be one of the most performed ballets in Russia. It celebrated international success after its performance in London in 1921. Its composer, Pyotr Ilyick Tchaikovsky, also composed the Swan Lake and Nutcracker ballets.

The Russian National Ballet has a company of nearly 50 members and has toured around the world since its inception. The touring company tends to be smaller in number because of the organization’s mission to reach audiences outside of big cities.

Sleeping Beauty, with its elaborate costumes and extravagant sets, is a visually fantastic presentation that will appeal to a wide range of viewers. No prior knowledge or experience in ballet is necessary to enjoy the show or understand the emotions portrayed on stage.

The play is similar to the story made famous by the classic Disney animated movie.

The show opens with Princess Aurora as a newborn baby. Her parents throw a party in honor of her birth, which is crashed by the wicked fairy Carabosse. The jealous Carabosse places a curse on the infant Aurora, now doomed to die on her 16th birthday when she pricks her finger on a spindle.

The king and queen beg Carabosse to take back her curse, but nothing can be done to placate her extreme anger. The entire court is heartbroken and they plead to the good Lilac Fairy to save the princess, but she can merely alter the curse to avoid death. Aurora becomes Sleeping Beauty as she slips into a 100-year slumber awaiting her prince.

Sleeping Beauty is a stunning work of art that has endured for over a century. Although the ballet has no dialogue, the plot and characters are easy to understand. Viewers will enjoy the show whether this is their first ballet or one of the many they’ve seen.