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Sleeping Beauty Must Die

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Corpus' newest project, Tornerose skal dø (Sleeping Beauty Must Die), has its premiere tonight at eight, in little under an hour!


Official photos have been put up in the website's gallery as well as a trailer, they can be found here: https://kglteater.dk/det-sker/sason-20162017/ballet/tornerose-skal-do/#galleri


I'll be seeing the performance tomorrow and simply can't wait, in the intro it's called a "destruction ballet" that deconstructs everything we know about Sleeping Beauty and the reality behind the costumes, touching upon such themes as sexuality, gender roles, injury and aging. I personally think it sounds like one amazing ride!


I'll report back once I've seen it. Anyone going tonight?

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Wow. Mind's too blown right now for any real coherency but can I just say - this is one of the most personal, honest and touching glimpses into the dancers' world that I've ever seen. 


I loved hearing, seeing and feeling their stories. There were moments when it felt like this show truly brought down the fourth wall and let us know the reality behind all the polished beauty that we enjoy as a ballet audience. I loved that. I even feel kind of privileged! 


Wish I had time (and tickets) to go again tomorrow afternoon. 

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Having had the morning to digest "Sleeping Beauty Must Die", I think I'm ready to share the experience. A little of it. I don't think this will be a review in the traditional sense, but since the performance itself wasn't ballet in the traditional sense either, maybe that's alright. 


Stepping into the set of Tornerose was a bit like stepping into a parallel universe, a universe that mirrored ours, but laid the "beneath" bare. We sat down in marked chairs placed in a three-sided square-ish shape around the center stage and immediately, we were getting pulled into this world. The seven dancers prepared around us, in full view, as they walked by us some nodded and greeted us, we were part of their world now. 


The dancers in this production were Susanne Grinder, Benjamin Buza, Eliabe D'Abadia, Alexander Stæger, Julien Roman, Cedric Lambrette and Samuel Rees. Some of them danced specific "characters" throughout the evening, like Buza dancing the prince, Grinder danced Aurora, D'Abadia the lilac fairy and, I think, Julien Roman the king and Samuel Rees Carabosse, but I couldn't say for sure which hardly matters anyway, because much of the time, they all jumped in and out of character, speaking and acting as themselves, commenting on crucial points in Sleeping Beauty as a ballet and their thoughts and feelings on dancing it specifically, but also the dancer's life in general. It was very intimate and vulnerable. I felt truly touched and included by these seven people. They granted me a taste of their lives. 


But this concept was presented in dance, in a full deconstruction of the Sleeping Beauty ballet. They led us through the ballet act by act, danced out important parts, constantly commenting in meta on aspects of their lives that it represented or affected. Issues such as aging (Grinder was wrapped in clingfilm and put in a freezer to preserve her for a hundred years), injuries (two of the male dancers listed their various injuries and almost tried to out-injure each other), gender roles (the focus on the ballerina; at some point after everybody in the audience had been invited into the middle to dance at Aurora's "sweet sixteen" party, Grinder jumped onto the table and yelled "It's my party, mine!") and sexuality (homosexual men being represented as lonely nymphomaniacs lurking in the deepest forest where they attacked the prince until the lilac fairy intervened, as if these men stood in an impossible contrast to the prince role of classical ballet).


All of these topics were presented wrapped in acid-colour or metallic costumes, the colour scheme was "pastel tripping" all-around and after a while, I sunk into this universe of stark impressions and soft admissions. 


The audience was constantly invited to engage and there was a lot of laughter. Trying to decode mime.  Mimicking the final scene along with the dancers dancing it. Rising for the king and Aurora. It was truly like sharing the stage for an hour and a half with these dancers and I started wishing them well in their mission of "killing Sleeping Beauty", because I for a brief moment got to know them as more than ballet dancers and dancers I admire, but as real flesh and blood people. When we clapped for Grinder and Buza who danced the traditional wedding waltz at the end, I was a bit teary-eyed.


To this moment, one of the strongest impressions left with me was Grinder talking about being a ballerina, about dancing princess roles although she didn't feel like a princess and about not really identifying with the perfection of ballet while pirouetting past all the audience rows, faster and faster and "with control now" as she commented, all while moving. 


Because this wasn't a "talk show", there was dancing. The men danced the various fairies in the prologue, in sneakers and with all the acting of a real performance, elevated. It was hilarious. Grinder danced the Rose Adagio (on a table!) and the wedding pas de deux with Buza's prince. All the way through the ballet was dismantled and put in perspective. It must have been a "destruction ballet" for the dancers, indeed, but for me it was like being served "Sleeping Beauty" re-interpreted and deconstructed on a golden platter. It tasted like reality and everything that lies beneath. 


It was an amazing, touching performance and I can only recommend it. I still feel slightly fried mentally and emotionally in the aftermath now. 

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