Last night, Feb. 4, at Three Stages in Folsom, CA,.the Russian National Ballet company opened a three performance run of “The Sleeping Beauty,” the first successful ballet composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
The ballet is a difficult one from a performer’s perspective involving superb technique.
The fairy tale involves romance, poetry, fate, goodness versus evil, and of course, love! The interpretation of the children’s story is brought about through the excellent choreography of Sergy Radchenko, a graduate of the Moscow School of Dance and a dancer with the Bolshoi Ballet for 25 years.
The Russian troupe is currently under the artistic direction of, Alexander Daev, the Ballet Master, who, after last night’s event said, “The production went very well.”
The state-of-the-art theatre provided the perfect setting for this production with its phenomenal acoustics. It was almost as if Tchaikovsky himself were there overseeing the sound production.
The prologue might have put one who has never seen the ballet to sleep with the subdued hues of the costumed celebration of the birth of Princess Aurora and the relaxing sounds of harps and violins. But the entrance of the fairies livened up the celebration in short order – the good fairies in brightly colored tutus picked up the pace.
Solo performances were much better in style and technique than the artists dancing together. There was a lack of “togetherness” when the music was slow, but as the tempo of the music picked up, the synchronization of movement dramatically improved.
Carabosse, the evil fairy was performed with great panache, and the scene in which Princess Aurora is pricked by the needle hidden in a bouquet by the evil fairy leading to the Princess’s deep sleep was well interpreted by the dance. With a wave of the Lilac Fairy’s wand, a spell is cast on the entire kingdom sending it into a one-hundred year’s slumber.
The entrance of Prince Desire in Act II was the showstopper. With only one exception, the Prince, danced by Kazahstan’s Aidos Zakan, with great technical skills and abilities and crossed the stage with leaps that appeared effortless. His entrechats were impeccable and resulted in “bravo” shouted from members of the audience.
The set and lighting design led to a very pleasing view from every seat in the house. The sheer lilac covered curtains that were designed to resemble overgrowth of the forest, did just that, and combined with the lessening of the stage lighting, gave the perfect picture of a kingdom in a deep slumber.
The final act, could not have exceeded the beauty and grandeur of the previous acts, but it did! The wedding scene was breathtaking as well as humorous at times, and the grand finale – the Lilac Fairy being raised above the fountain and Prince Desire kneeling in front of his bride, Princess Aurora, taking her hand and resting his cheek upon it would leave any lover of ballet or romantic, for that matter, believing in true love and happiness.
Joy Almendariz was at the show with three of her five daughters – Brittany 17 and twins Macy and Paige, both 15. Almendariz, a tap dance teacher at the Crocker-Dean Ballet Studio in East Sacramento said that she really enjoyed watching the Prince because it’s “rare to find guys dancers in the ballet.”
Almaendariz’s two of girls said they wanted to be professional classical ballet dancers. Macy “lives a double life” torn between soccer and dance.
The three girls found a love for ballet eight years ago while waiting for “mom” while she taught tap dance. “They would watch the ballet dancers practice in one room while I worked in another,” Almendariz said.
Her two other daughters, ages three and four were at home with dad. The three year old “cried her eyes out” because she couldn’t come.
The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow in the late 1980’s and features more than 50 dancers, many trained in the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet.
If you have the opportunity to see this ballet company perform “The Sleeping Beauty” take it. It is a grand production!
There are two more shows at Three Stages in Folsom – Feb. 6, and Feb. 7.
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