With fantastic costumes and choreography, Tulsa Ballet brings he beloved fairy tale to life
Tulsa Ballet’s “The Sleeping Beauty” combined elegant dancing, cool lighting effects and exquisite, colorful costumes to produce the magic of the classic fairy tale come to life. From beginning to end, I was mesmerized and immersed in the production.
Choreographed by Tulsa Ballet Artistic Director Marcello Angelini, the ballet opened with a prologue titled “The Christening of Princess Aurora.” In it, the king and queen celebrated the birth of their baby girl Princess Aurora with a party.
The fairy godmothers of the forest were invited to bestow gifts on her. They entered the cavernous ballroom with their partners lifting them high in the air. Dressed in beautiful pastel pancake tutus, they each had different theme color: yellow, orange, blue and green. Their bodices were beautifully beaded to perfectly catch the light, causing them to sparkle.
Each fairy godmother had a small solo where they bequeathed their present. The solos each contained a unique lighthearted music. They showcased the different personalities of the godmothers and were one of the highlights of the show.
The music in this part of the prologue was light and airy with a lot of flutes. The dancers’ movements to pair with the lighthearted sounds were soft and delicate. I thought of flowers dancing through the air on the wind when I watched them.
In the midst of the Lilac Fairy’s blessing to Aurora, the entrance of the evil fairy Carabossa interrupted her. Carabossa’s dramatic entrance was complete with smoke machines and minions who looked like a cross between cats and flying monkeys. Carabossa’s midnight black tutu with blue and green beading caught the blue light that highlighted her high-energy solo, accompanied by melodramatic piano music, making her sparkle.
The blue lighting on Carabossa and her minions was a nice contrast to the bright white light that spotlighted the Lilac Fairy. The two different colored spotlights created a creative effect that emphasized the stark difference between light and dark, good and evil.
Carabossa cursed Aurora to prick her finger on a spinning needle and die on her 16th birthday and then exited in a cloud of smoke. Everybody was bereft and weeping, but the Lilac Fairy changed the curse. She mimed Aurora sleeping and being awoken by true love’s kiss to end the prologue.
Act I opened with the fateful birthday. Four suitors arrived to court the fair princess. There was a group dancing number to instrumental music that any Disney princess fan would recognize: “Once Upon a Dream.”
Princess Aurora, played by soloist Jennifer Grace at the Thursday night performance, was an elegant and strong performer. Her dance numbers demanded great strength and flexibility, and throughout her whole performance, she exhibited both qualities with a smile on her face. Her costume was my favorite — a lovely pale pink pancake tutu with gold beading overlay and roses.
At the ball in the midst of the revelry, Carabossa appeared in disguise and caused Aurora to prick her finger. Aurora danced around in sorrow and collapsed in a deep sleep. The Lilac Fairy then appeared and put everyone else in a sleep.
Enter Prince Florimund in Act II, 100 years later. The audience is introduced to the character, dressed in white to represent his virtue, while he is on a hunt. The costumes for the hunting party were exquisite; they were sumptuous velvet and quite stunning
The Lilac Fairy arrived to show Prince Florimund a vision of the fair Aurora. The prince was enchanted. A vision in the green leafy forest of his love, complete with dancers in gold-and-green swishy tutus followed.
The prince then arrived at the castle. After a short battle between the Lilac Fairy and Carabossa, Prince Florimund awakened Aurora with true love’s kiss. Act II ended with their wedding.
The whole ballet was beautiful to watch, and I enjoyed every second. For the weekend performances, the audiences got a treat. Tulsa Ballet Principal Dancer Hyonjun Rhee returned as Prince Florimund opposite former dance partner and current Principal Dancer Na Eun Kim as Aurora.
Although “The Sleeping Beauty” was only one weekend, Tulsa Ballet has a few more performances left to end their season. They finish out the debut of their family-friendly children’s series “Peter and the Wolf” on March 9. Their next performance at the PAC is “Tchaikovsky,” the world debut of this ballet about the famous composer. Put both of them on your calendar, for they should not be missed!