The Sleeping Beauty

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Principal dancers Greta Hodgkinson & Guillame Côté of The National Ballet of Canada

In an article on Nov 2, The Toronto Star described The Sleeping Beauty as “the jewel in the classical crown of the National Ballet of Canada“. After tonight, I have to agree.

Ok, so I haven’t watched that many ballets. Only Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and tonight’s Sleeping Beauty (all in Toronto). The Sleeping Beauty is my clear favourite. This particular production was choreographed by the legendary Rudolf Nureyev when he danced with the National Ballet of Canada 34 years ago. Lush, visually spectacular (it has the best costumes and sets of all three productions I’ve watched), technically impressive, romantic, and set to my sentimentally favourite ballet score, I feel like I’ve finally watched a live ballet performance that lived up to my childhood fantasies.

One recurring wonderment throughout the performance was how creatively and masterfully Disney had used Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score. For example, the eerie music in the animated film where Aurora was lured to the tower by a mysterious orb of light is actually the setting of a delightfully light-hearted and even funny dance by a pair of cats during the final act. There was a rather diverting phenomenon too… each time a melody was played that had become a song in the Disney film, I kept hearing the lyrics in my head. It added an interesting dimension to the performance for me.

As an aside, the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts is a fantastic venue. Many, many times better than The Hummingbird Centre. The acoustics was very good, and though we were on the fourth tier, we had a clear view of the stage. The theatre had been designed in such a way that all five tiers are in a virtual vertical line. I think it may be safe to say that there are no bad seats whether in terms of visual or acoustical advantage.

I feel as if I’ve fulfilled a childhood dream by watching The Sleeping Beauty. I hardly blinked at all during the entire 3 hours (with 2 intermissions)… and though I’m almost 28 I was still bedazzled by the gorgeous costumes and elaborate head-dresses that I loved as a little girl… I was especially enamoured with Princess Aurora’s glittering tiara!!!

I think I will sleep sweetly tonight. :)

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