A delightful show and a great opportunity to see talented young dancers from Oxford showing what they have learned and what they can do coming up next week. The East Oxford School of Ballet is staging their production of The Sleeping Beauty next week Monday 7 July to Thursday 10 July inclusive at the Theatre at Headington. With a cast of 150 dancers aged from 3 to adult, this is a family-friendly performance of a much loved ballet, condensed into 2 acts, retaining all the favourite characters of the fairy tale within a compact and fast-moving narrative structure. (more…)

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First staged in St Petersburg in 1890, The Sleeping Beauty is regarded as the pinnacle of classical ballet: a perfect marriage of Petipa’s choreography and Tchaikovsky’s music, and a glorious challenge for every dancer on stage. It is also the Royal Ballet’s signature work.  To mark the company’s 75th birthday in 2006, Monica Mason and Christopher Newton revitalised its landmark 1946 production, which re-established Petipa’s choreography as recorded by Imperial Ballet régisseur Nicholas Sergeyev, to a scenario and staging developed by Ninette de Valois, founder of the Royal Ballet.  With Oliver Messel’s gorgeous original designs wonderfully reimagined by Peter Farmer, and additional choreography by Anthony Dowell, Christopher Wheeldon and Frederick Ashton, today’s The Sleeping Beauty not only captures the mood of the original but shows that this is very much a living work for the Royal Ballet, growing and changing with the company while celebrating its past. (more…)

Coming up this week, another visit to Oxford’s New Theatre by the Russian State Ballet and Orchestra of Siberia, this year bringing performances of two of the great Tchaikovsky ballets, Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty.  Formed in 1981, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia has quickly established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation through regular touring. (more…)

A Christmas treat for ballet-lovers – and in the wake of the recent court case convicting the attackers of director Sergei Filin, a welcome chance to be reminded of the on-stage presence of one of the world’s great ballet companies.  Oxford’s Phoenix Picturehouse will be retransmitting a 2011 performance by the Bolshoi Ballet of the  The Sleeping Beauty.

Cursed at birth by the evil fairy Carabosse, Princess Aurora descends into a deep slumber on the day of her 16th birthday. Only the kiss of a prince will awaken her.  Based on Charles Perrault’s classic fairy tale, The Sleeping Beauty has been hugely successful since its premiere in 1890. Marius Petipa’s masterpiece set to Tchaikovsky’s majestic score is one of the most popular and accomplished choreographic works in the classical repertoire. This recent version by veteran choreographer Yuri Grigorovich will captivate fairy-tale lovers and the whole family during the Christmas season, and features two of the company’s top principal dancers. (more…)

This appeared originally online as part of a series of ongoing reflections on the process of making and performing work for Jennifer Jackson’s mature dancers’ project Dancing the Invisible, which showed work in performance last year at University of Surrey’s Ivy Arts Centre, and at the Michaelis Theatre at Roehampton University.  In a recent blog post Susie wrote:

Ashton used to say that watching The Sleeping Beauty was like having a private lesson in the art of composition in classical ballet (Kavanagh 1996, p.309).  The richness of Petipa’s choreographic text (despite its mutability and variation from one production to another) and the particular poetic and historic symbolism of the work, give it layers of significance and the potential for depth in individual artistic interpretation; to my mind according it the equivalence in status of such canonical musical masterpieces as the Bach cello suites, which invite artists to measure themselves and make a definitive personal statement of their understanding through their performance of the work. (more…)

English National Ballet is changing: Tamara Rojo, as Artistic Director, has brought a new focus on building technique while developing younger talent. At Saturday night’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty in Oxford I noticed consistently sharper footwork and technical accuracy, although I felt that some of the cast were so concerned with precision that at times they risked becoming almost static. I was impressed by their control and stability but thought that they sometimes held their backs too rigidly upright, and that there is a need now to acquire a greater flow of movement. (more…)

The English National Ballet Company under the artistic direction of Tamara Rojo arrived in Oxford for five days of performances at The New Theatre. Its offering was Kenneth MacMillan’s re-imagining of the great master Marius Petipa’s choreography for The Sleeping Beauty. In so many important ways the 22nd February performance I saw did not disappoint: the technical prowess of not only the principle dancers, but the well-trained corps de ballet was impressive; the Nicholas Georgiadis costumes were crisp and sumptuous; and the Tchaikovsky score paced at a galloping speed while not missing the moments of winsome beauty in waltz sequences and delicacy in moments of syncopated choreography.  But there are some caveats as well as some moments of special enjoyment. (more…)