Friday, June 20, 2014
Sleeping Beauty and the Royal Ballet
Sleeping Beauty is on everyone's minds because of "Maleficent" and I've been a little obsessed with ballet lately. The association of fairy tales with ballet is probably one of the reasons fairy tales have become associated with little girls and fluff, but it's just so ironic. I like to watch documentaries about ballet dancers, their daily life, and behind the scenes. Ballet is one of the most challenging professions in the world and the dancers literally devote their lives to it. What might seem so simple-a basic plie or tendue-is actually incredibly difficult to do with perfect balance, turnout, and grace.
The same analogy could be made with fairy tales themselves-though they are often made light of, there is so much more depth to the stories, and their history usually shocks people who study fairy tales for the first time.
The first video is about the technical challenges of the dancing in this ballet, especially for Aurora in the first Act. Below is a fascinating look at the history of this ballet in the Royal Opera House-the Royal Ballet used Sleeping Beauty as their return to the stage after World War II. As a story of good defeating evil, and of reawakening, it was a very deliberate choice. You can also hear the 2014 cast discuss their roles.