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Favorite RB Sleeping Beauties

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Now that the company has a new production, I thought it might be interesting to read favorites from past productions.

Mine are Monica Mason as Carabosse, and Marguerite Porter (in one of the roles that I thought really suited her) as the Lilac Fairy.

I didn't see a Royal Ballet Beauty until the 1980s, and so missed so much. I never saw a fairy that measured up to what I read (or saw on the Victor Jessen film now at the Dance Collection that's been mentioned often on these boards) and saw Fonteyn only on film.

What about the rest of you?

(please don't let this interfere with more postings about the new production, on the other thread, though!)

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I saw Fonteyn as Aurora in 1967 and while she was very good, I wouldn't say that, at least for me, it was one of her best roles. (Mind you, I had seen her six months earlier in Ondine, and that was so perfect that it was hard to top!).

I saw Annette Page dance Aurora at the same time, though. She was not well known outside the UK because I don't recall that she toured much with the Royal, but she was both strong technically and an excellent, unforced actress. I remember in particular her balances in the Rose Adagio - breath-taking and each longer than the last - but also her air of mystery in the Vision Scene and her total radiance in the Weddng Scene. My recollection is that that was her last season - age-wise, she was on the cusp, being younger than Fonteyn but older than Jenner, Penney, Wells, Collier and a whole bunch of budding ballerinas.

Deanna Bergsma was one of my favorite Lilac Fairies, mainly because so much of that choreography looks good on someone tall with nice phrasing.

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As a little girl, I saw Deanne Bergsma dance the Lilac Fairy -- and was completely and utterly enchanted. This was my first full length Sleeping Beauty, and she just filled my imagination. Sibley and Dowell were the Aurora and Prince, but I can't honestly say I remember much about their performances or my reactions -- though I know I enjoyed myself!

I also just loved Darcey Bussell when she danced Aurora at Kennedy Center. I think this was the premier of the Dowell production, and many American critics were lukewarm about her performance, but I thought she was temperamentally ideal as a fairy tale princess becoming a 'woman' -- that is, becoming a ballerina. Her dancing, too, seemed both assured and gorgeous, classical but with a soft, lush quality that was quite distinctive.

In that production,when Aurora came down the stairs for her entrance, she paused to smile a greeting to the 'court' (in effect, to the audience), and Bussell's smile had an expectant sweetness that immediately caught me up in the performance. I also remember her wonderfully supple back through all the variations of Act I, and a kind of underlying happiness and serenity to the entire performance, even as she conveyed the different qualities of Aurora's three acts -- birthday girl, vision, bride...

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