Monday, June 26, 2006
Yesterday at the Royal Ballet's version of Sleeping Beauty, which was attended by a lot of little girls in their very best dresses as well as by regular balletomaines like my husband and me, I was struck by how powerful the lead character is--in this version of the folktale, she's called Aurora. There's an entire act in which Aurora is courted by four suitors, but she spends this act on pointe, balanced, unsupported. This is an exaggeration, but she really does an amazing number of unpartnered balances on pointe. All this in celebration of her 16th birthday, and her entry into womanhood. She's all we care about. She's the only thing worth watching, despite the considerable spectacle of the production. Story ballets of this warhorse variety are often seen as hopelessly bourgeois, locked in tradition. I wonder if that's their only message.