State Road Ballet’s ‘Sleeping Magnificence’

From Sleeping Magnificence to Rip Van Winkle, fairy tales have lengthy prized the notion of a niche in time. These tales relaxation on the premise of a withdrawal from consciousness that’s not dying however that goes far past the nocturnal sleep habits all of us share and reaches into the realms of magic and delusion.

In March 2020, State Road Ballet was poised to current a remodeling of the canonical Tchaikovsky ballet Sleeping Magnificence at The Granada Theatre. Everybody, together with not solely the dancers but in addition the three girls who had choreographed the brand new model, and the girl who had designed and constructed the present’s big dragon puppet, was in a state of excessive anticipation. An out-of-town efficiency in Fresno had gone nicely.

Credit score: Courtesy

Then COVID hit. Identical to that, the corporate needed to postpone its projected premiere for 2 lengthy years. The extraordinary collective effort of choreographers Megan Philipp, Marina Fliagina, and Cecily MacDougall, in addition to the incredible dragon created by Christina McCarthy — all of it went to sleep.

And but, speaking to Cecily MacDougall about it right this moment, she has nothing however good issues to say about what that uninvited hiatus has carried out for the manufacturing. “These two years have allowed the undertaking to evolve,” MacDougall advised me. “State Road’s Sleeping Magnificence is larger and higher now than it was in 2020. We’ve had many extra rehearsals, we now have added stay music performed by the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra, and we’ve had a unprecedented alternative to mature as an organization.” On the similar time, as in all these fairy tales involving sleep, the world has modified.

In its authentic kind, Sleeping Magnificence leaves open a query that wants answering — the difficulty of Aurora’s consent. Certain, it’s handy that her real love occurs to be a heroic prince, and it’s nice that he rescues her from a state of indefinite organic suspension, however how can we recommend a primary transfer made on an unconscious lady? “We reimagined the storyline,” MacDougall stated, “We felt it needed to convey a constructive message to younger girls, and for that to occur, Aurora wanted to consent to the prince’s advances.”

Now, as a substitute of a sneaky kiss from out of nowhere, we see that the 2 have been speaking. The prince was at Aurora’s sixteenth birthday celebration on the day that she pricked her finger and fell into the massive sleep that defines her as a personality. She is aware of and cares for him earlier than he awakens her on this model.

And that’s not the one change. Within the conventional Petipa model, the ballet’s last act brings on a number of woodland creatures and different fairy-tale animals by tales advised by the prince’s courtly wedding ceremony friends. Masked aristocrats collect to impress one another with their abilities as dancers and storytellers.

Credit score: Courtesy

For the staff behind State Road’s manufacturing, this appeared overly difficult and un-American. The prince approached Aurora’s fortress by the woods; why couldn’t he have met precise animals alongside the way in which? This shift permits the dancers to step extra straight into these archetypes.

It’s price mentioning that choreographer Marina Fliagina and her husband, dancer Sergei Domrachev, share their Russian heritage with this masterpiece of the ballet repertoire. State Road Ballet newcomer Zhan Mishel Panchuk, who will dance a number of roles, together with Puss in Boots, is from Kyiv, Ukraine. See how they work collectively this weekend on the Granada and rejoice a time when Russia embraced a tradition shared with France and the world.

For tickets and data, go to or name the Granada field workplace at (805) 899-2222.

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