The story is well known and loved: as a baby, Princess Aurora has a spell but on her by the wicked Fairy Caraboss – she will prick her finger and die on her sixteenth birthday. However, the good Lilac Fairy counters the spell so instead Aurora will sleep for a hundred years.
Kenneth MacMillan’s choreography is both subtle and strong. The dancers bring their characters to life through gentle gestures and precise movements. The principal dancers are superbly skilful; delivering smooth and engaging solos and dancing in perfect synchronicity together. There are quirky moments too: in the final act Puss in Boots and Mrs Boots sashay around the stage, they paw one another and perform an unconventional booty-shake John Travolta would have envied.
Andre Portasio plays wicked Carabosse brilliantly. Everyone loves a baddy, but in Portasio’s case the cheers were well earned with his expertly executed comic-book evil hand gestures and wicked laugh. The Lilac Fairy, danced by Elena Glurdjidze, captured everyone’s hearts managing to perform as the perfect goody without coming across as a goody two-shoes.
There is something inevitably challenging about ballet; there is a seriousness inherent in it and a seriousness required of both those performing and watching. It impresses, mystifies and intimidates. It is perhaps one of the few forms of entertainment that has maintained a true dream-like quality. The Sleeping Beauty is a masterpiece; every element of the production has been cultivated and refined to a superior standard.