i am happy to report that unlike last time i went to see the ballet in cinema, this time –thanks to ignoring bossy GPS lady and following printed mapquest directions instead- i found the garden state plaza theater with no problem whatsoever. (perhaps i should note that every single time i shop at IKEA and attempt to exit onto route 17, somehow i end up in the garden state plaza parking lot by accident. maybe next time i should just go to IKEA, try leave & therefore end up at the plaza!)
so, anyway, this time i was there to see the royal ballet’s sleeping beauty and oh my! it was well worth the drive – what a brilliant production! so…we’ll naturally start with the prologue where the fairies dance their gifts to the infant princess (unfortunately played by a very creepy looking doll, which is not really a problem if you are part of the live audience but for those of us getting the occasional movie theater close-up it was hard not to wonder how that odd looking child with her mouth hanging open grew up to be the title character)! all the fairies were quite beautiful, but the most remarkable were yuhui choe – radiant as ever dancing the fairy of the crystal fountain, and the fairy of the songbird, delightfully interpreted by francesca hayward. unfortunately, previously viewing (about 50 billion times) videos of marianela nunez enchantingly, perfectly, exquisitely dancing the lilac fairy has sort of ruined me for any future lilacs. laura mccolluch did a nice job as the lilac fairy, but i feel she often holds quite a bit of tension in her neck. however, she did win me over in the later acts with her gentle guiding of the prince and with the way she took down the evil carabosse. and speaking of carabosse….. wow! kristen mcnally was delightfully wicked and haughty – what a fantastic baddie she was! brava!!
on to act 1 and somehow creepy baby doll has grown into a stunningly gorgeous and elegant sixteen year old princess aurora (sarah lamb) who was celebrating her birthday. sarah was a joy to watch throughout, full of youth and bouyancy, and her rose adagio could not have been better. her develope’s a la seconde were tasteful and beautifully placed, somehow accentuating her gorgeously arched feet, her arabesque penche’s were each a carbon copy of the one preceding -rolling slowly through her foot each time without a wobble, her attitude balances generally secure and not overdone. (personally, i’m not usually a huge fan of super long balances in the rose adagio as often the ballerina becomes a bit wobbly or takes on a blank stare and falls out of character to maintain her balance. tho i will admit they are impressive from a technical standpoint). sarah remained engaged with her suitors throughout the adagio, enjoying her courtships and showing such delight each time she was presented with a flower. in short, she was fantastic. but alas, aurora’s festivities must soon come to and end as the conniving carabosse shows up with a spindle and well….. you know the deal.
as aurora has pricked her finger and is having a bit of a snooze, we were finally introduced to our charming prince florimund who was gallivanting about the forest, having some drinks and playing silly blindfold games with his friends and family. our prince for the evening was danced by the incredible steven mcrae, who i must confess ranks fairly high on my list of ballet dancers i would happily marry if i was still young and cute and single and ….you know, they weren’t totally out of my league. but anyway….. his royal cuteness wasn’t exactly in a partying mood and launched into a gorgeous adagio solo full of longing and beautiful arabesques. steven possesses such beautiful line and control and danced with a melancholy yearning. and shortly after the lilac fairy showed him an image of his delicate bride to be, we were all treated to a divine vision scene indeed.
lamb and mcrae by johan persson
so the lovely aurora got her kiss, carabosse was destroyed and our princess awakened looking as fresh and spirited as she did 100 years ago. of course the happy couple decided to wed immediately because, hey – it’s a fairy tale and we needed an excuse for a wedding party! all the fairytale guests arrived and danced splendidly but i must note once again how much i enjoyed yuhui choe who was cast as bluebird’s princess florine in the 3rd act. yuhui dances with such a natural joy and luminescence and i never tire of her warmth and sparkle.
the happy couple’s final grande pas de deux was brilliant, sarah was graceful and refined and steven a splendid partner. (and the fish dives- fantastic!!) their variations were so beautiful and exciting that even in a movie theatre the audience couldn’t resist breaking into applause. all in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable performance and i’m super happy i went : )
and just a few more quick shout outs–
to the corps de ballet who danced wonderfully throughout and especially the lavender girls when they linked into a line and did those quick degages travelling forward en pointe. they could not have been more in sync if they had been programmed by a computer – that was a moment of sheer perfection.
to the orchestra who played tchaikovsky’s wondrous score so passionately. (coincidentally i heard the rose adagio music on my car radio earlier in the day while driving to lowes to pick up a new vacuum cleaner belt. i’m sure that’s relevant somehow).
and to fathom events and the royal ballet and whoever else it takes to put these fabulous ballets in the movie theaters! thank you!!
next up in the royal ballet’s cinema season is christopher wheeldon’s “a winter’s tale”.