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Sleeping Beauty for small companies


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#1 ronny

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 03:25 AM

Have you ever seen Sleeping Beauty done successfully by a small ballet company. I have only seen it done by the Kirov, and it is really hard for me to imagine that it could be done on a smaller scale but I guess anything is possible.

Sleeping Beauty seems like such a huge undertaking that I was wondering if there are shorter or more compact versions that work well.

I have heard a number of people say that this story is their favorite, so I am just wondering why it is not performed more often. Is it just too big, or what?

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 05:54 AM

Although the Royal Ballet first performed Sleeping Beauty when the company was still small -- pre-War -- they had a Maryinsky regisseur to help stage it, and they knew what they were aiming for.

I think a small-scale Sleeping Beauty would be interesting only as a teaching tool. It's not only that grandeur is part of its point, but yes, it does need a big company because it needs dozens and dozens of first-rate dancers. I've seen midsized companies do it, and I've always found them disappointing. Some even cut down the number of fairies! If companies want to do them for home consumption, or teaching tools, fine -- but please don't tour them. For the past 15 years or so, Sleeping B seems to have become, for some artistic directors, the sign of, "We are big time. We have made it." Like many things, it doesn't matter what level of production it is, just so they can say "We're doing Sleeping Beauty!" Well, just don't :)

#3 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 07:26 AM

Ronny -

It's not the plot of the story, but one of the "points" of Sleeping Beauty has been the deployment of an entire company, and of a uniform company style. It needs to be shown in the ballet on all levels, from the smallest children in the Garland Dance through attendant through the court through the fairies to Aurora herself. It takes not just a company, but a school; Sleeping Beauty is a way of celebrating the institution of ballet. When a company does Sleeping Beauty without an institution behind it, and without even that goal, there's something missing from the ballet. It's a reason you don't usually see the ballet in a reduced version.

#4 ronny

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 02:02 PM

Yes, this is really nice to know. I understand what you are saying and I can see why it is true. It is the mark of the highest order to be able to put on a production like that. Now, that kind of thing would be worth traveling to see.

So this is great to know. Thanks for taking the time to explain it to me. Very much appreciated.

By the way, I found that FSU in Tallahassee is performing Coppelia in May next year. That's only 100 miles from me and they also have an afternoon performance which will work for me. They are a very small company, but I think it will be interesting to see it. I'm looking foreward to it. I also plan to attend the nutcraker just down the road from me... its the Moscow Ballet Company. I don't expect very much, but I'm sure I'll get a kick out of the adventure!

Thanks again for the help. You both explained it perfectly.

#5 Alexandra

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Posted 19 September 2002 - 02:16 PM

Coppelia is a very good ballet for small companies, I think. You need a principal couple and a good mime (for Dr. C) and the rest is pretty adaptable to suit the talents of the company. There's also not a standard Coppelia; there are lots of different versions.

I think it's very good to see LIVE performances. Videos are nice, but there's nothing like being in a theater.


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