Tea at the Ballet: Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty is one of children’s great fairy tales as well as one of the world’s most renowned and famous ballet productions. This highly elaborate and elegant ballet, choreographed by the late Rudolf Nureyev and staged by the graceful Artistic Director Karin Kain  here at The National Ballet of Canada, is every little girl’s dream. Princess Aurora is one of ballet’s most elegant and beautiful princesses. The Sleeping Beauty takes us through an adventure of beautiful choreography. There is simply no other words than “elegant”  to describe this production.

Danced to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant composition, this ballet is filled with energetic steps and twirls. Though this production does not exhibit the grand choreography like The Nutcracker and maybe Swan Lake, it is every bit technically taxing, difficult and grandiose in its own way. From the elaborate costuming and set design, to the tiny movements of steps, each movement is intricately choreographed. Initially from the Prologue the audience is captivated by the technical prowess of all the fairies and their light-hearted dances as they bestow their gifts to Princess Aurora. Moving into Act I, it is apparent that Princess Aurora is as graceful, elegant and strong as the fairies said she will be. I got to see the gorgeous Greta Hodgkinson perform as Princess Aurora in the dress rehearsal and Sunday matinée and what a treat!

Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté with Artists of the Ballet from the 2009 production of The Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Bruce Zinger.

Act II featured and focused on Prince Florimund and his dream of seeing Princess Aurora and finding his beloved princess. For this production of The Sleeping Beauty, Toronto welcomed Toronto-native Evan McKie for his debut performance with the National Ballet. This was a treat for all. Highly acclaimed and well-known in the rest of the world, Canada finally got the treat to see McKie perform as Prince Florimund. A graceful and tall dancer, he wowed the audience with his performance as Florimund.

The Sleeping Beauty continues to impress into Act III where it is a big celebration. For the entire duration of the Act, everyone celebrates the marriage of Princess Aurora to Prince Florimund through dance. Here we see various guests such as the Diamond Lady and Diamond Man who dance the Pas de Cinq as well as the Bluebird with Princess Florine along with the cute Pussycats and the different fairies all who dance incredible performances. The ballet closes with a Pas de Deux  from Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund which is just stunning and Hodgkinson and McKie again, just wows the audience.

This was just a brilliant ballet and I was lucky enough to be invited for the dress rehearsal to see how everything is done before opening night. I got a grand tour of the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre and was just amazed how everything ran. Everyone knew where to be at all times and the coordinators behind stage were so composed! It was a great experience overall to be able to watch the company do their dress rehearsal. There is literally one straight run through of the production before opening night, which is incredible considering how many pieces to this ballet there is.

King Florestan’s Massive wig in Act III

Princess Florine backstage in the warm-up studio

The Sleeping Beauty is a must-see for all ballet, princess and classics lovers. It weaves all elements of what a classical ballet should be together into a wonderful grand production.

Tea Choice: Once again, Glitter&Gold is the perfect elegant black tea for this ballet. This tea is fit for any beautiful princess.

The Sleeping Beauty will only be on stage until March 18th so get your tickets here. Evan McKie has two performances left, so be sure to catch him before he leaves.

Thank you to the Public Relations team at the National Ballet for inviting me out to such an exclusive look at the workings of a ballet production. Follow them on Twitter for future updates and news.


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