The Pennsylvania Ballet debuts a show fit for all the princesses in Philadelphia.
After last year’s successful “Cinderella run, Artistic Director Angel Corella knew that bringing fairytale to the would be the perfect way to enchant the audience this Fall. “The Sleeping Beauty” opens at the Academy of Music on Oct 12.
“It’s very recognizable,” says Corella. “Last year, little girls came to the show dressed as Cinderella. We like to start the season with a production that is going to excite our audience about coming to the ballet.”
The classic story is familiar to most from the Disney film. Like the movie, the ballet follows the story of Princess Aurora. Evil fairy Carabosse curses her at the royal christening. Aurora will grow up to be 16, but will prick her finger on a spindle and die. A good fairy changes the curse so that the young princess will fall into a 100 year sleep, to be woken only by the kiss of true love.
Corella compares the evil fairy to Maleficent, the wicked fairy godmother from the Disney film. The villain of the ballet makes quite an entrance when she comes to the court.
“It’s really cool, with all her creatures around this powerful figure and they way she moves,” he says.
In addition to the enjoyable drama, the ballet is known for being technically difficult. Dancer Mayara Pineiro craves the technical challenge while dancing the part of Princess Aurora. The beautiful princess dances with suitors on her 16th birthday. One masked interest gives her a present that is a spinning wheel in disguise. Aurora’s dance sequence commands the attention of the stage as she is trying to resist touching the point of the needle that will cause her to fall into a deep sleep.
“This is one of those roles that I’ve always dreamed about doing,” says Pineiro. “It’s classic. It’s hard to be onstage while acting so young, vulnerable and happy at the same time. I really enjoy the acting.”
Ballets like this incorporate strong elements of storytelling as well as the choreography. A significant part of preparing for the performance is finding ways to alter aspects of the original production to better suit a modern audience- especially for a ballet that premiered in 1890.
“We try to do something that stays true to the original choreography but is also more fresh and energetic,” says Corella. “A lot of companies and choreographers have fallen into doing things the way it was originally written. Dance has evolved, and people have evolved.”
If you go:
The Pennsylvania Ballet presents “The Sleeping Beauty”
Oct. 12-Oct. 22
Academy of Music
240 S. Broad St.