The Washington Ballet Presents THE SLEEPING BEAUTY
The Washington Ballet will debut its full length version of the breathtakingly iconic ballet The Sleeping Beauty February 27-March 3, 2019 at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Set to Tchaikovsky's enchanting score, this fairy tale of true love that conquers all and the power of good over evil comes to life through the beauty of classical dance, with Princess Aurora, her dashing Prince and other quintessential storybook characters.
The ballet will be presented in two Acts. The Prologue and Act 1 set the premise for the story. The Princess Aurora, the first child of King Florestan and his Queen, is christened at a grand ceremony. Led by the Lilac Fairy, Aurora is presented with gifts by the Fairies of Felicity, Charity, Fervor and Valor. The evil Caraboose, angered at not being invited, arrives and in an act of fury places a curse on Aurora where on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The Lilac Fairy cannot remove the curse, but is able to dilute Carabosse's evil spell proclaiming Aurora and everyone in the kingdom will sleep until Aurora receives a kiss from her true love.
Act II opens 100 years later with Prince D sir and his companions enjoying a hunting party. The Prince however, is sad. His heart is despondent. It is then he meets the Lilac Fairy who has chosen him to awaken Aurora. She shows him a vision of the Princess and their future life together that ignites his quest to find her. The Lilac Fairy escorts him to the Castle where Aurora is sleeping and after vanquishing Carabosse, he awakens her with a kiss.
Act III is Aurora's wedding. The celebration is a visual spectacle filled celebrated "divertissements" - 'Jewels,' 'The Bluebird and Princess Florine,' 'Red Riding Hood and The Wolf,' 'Puss and Boots and The White Cat' - all dancing to celebrate the awakening of the kingdom and honoring the union of Princess Aurora and Prince D sir .
More than the fanciful story telling in this ballet are the technical and artistic challenges for dancers and the demanding choreography that defines their roles. The famous Rose Adagio in Act 1 is a hallmark achievement for any ballerina, thrilling audiences with dramatic partnering that commands strength, balance and technical virtuosity.
The Washington Ballet's Artistic Director Julie Kent and Associate Artistic Director Victor Barbee will tailor-fit their production in size and scale for The Washington Ballet. Together they bring decades of personal experience with The Sleeping Beauty having worked directly with leading historians, choreographers, repe tite urs and ballet greats. While their staging will be influenced by the Stepanov notation of the original 1890 version by Marius Petipa, they will also provide additional choreography, emphasizing tempo, style and dynamic energy.
"Both Victor and I have danced many roles in The Sleeping Beauty during our careers," said Julie Kent. "There is a deep emotional connection to this ballet for me, as it played a huge part in my development as a Ballerina. We are honored to share our history and experience with our dancers and delight in the stewardship process of passing down these timeless ballets to the next generation and into the next century."
"We respect the great history of this beautiful ballet but also strive to curate a production with an eye for today's audience; accurate and fast paced," said Victor Barbee. "I think our audiences will fall in love with the dancing, the rich costumes and the story, just as we have. It will be a beautiful and compelling production for all ages and our gift to building the repertoire of the company."
The Washington Ballet (TWB) was founded as The Washington School of Ballet by Mary Day in 1944 and incorporated as a professional company in 1976. At the helm is internationally acclaimed ballerina Julie Kent. As The Washington Ballet's Artistic Director, Kent's mission is to build a world-class dance company in the Nation's Capital, by continuing the tradition of classical ballet and contributing to the evolution of the art form through contemporary works and new commissions. The Washington Ballet strives to reflect the diversity of the community and the nation through its dancers and its repertoire. Kent has introduced into the repertoire seminal works by George Balanchine, Frederick Ashton, Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor, Justin Peck and Alexei Ratmansky while embracing the work of emerging choreographers including Clifton Brown, Gemma Bond, and Ethan Stiefel, among others.
Her commitment to the development of both the dancer and the art form is fulfilled through the presentation of beloved classic 19th-century ballets and landmark 20th-century works while reaffirming a commitment to commissioned works that will contribute to the evolution of ballet and its relevance in our times. TWB's three-part mission: ensuring excellence in its professional performance company; growing the next generation of dancers through its school, professional training programs, and Studio Company; and serving the community in which it resides through community engagement programs will continue to propel TWB to a more prominent place within the nation's capital and beyond.