This past week, New York City Ballet began its two-week run of Sleeping Beauties. I saw the opening night performance, with Ashley Bouder (above with Damian Woetzel, in Paul Kolnik photo) in the lead. She danced opposite Andrew Veyette, as Prince Desire. Both did really, a near-perfect job (just because nothing’s ever completely perfect!). Really, I don’t know what more you could ask for, although I’m waiting to write my full review on the production until later this week, after I’ve seen two more casts: Kathryn Morgan as Aurora and Tyler Angle as PD (with Janie Taylor as the Lilac Fairy!), and then Tiler Peck and Gonzalo Garcia as the leads.
I love NYCB’s production — a lot more than ABT’s — and I can’t really figure out why. In NYCB’s there’s really never a dull moment — there’s no boring court dancing, just all the wondrous ballet, the very intricate and complicately awe-inducing variations for the various faeries (Sara Mearns was gorgeous as Lilac Fairy — in photo below by Paul Kolnik, as were Amanda Hankes, Lauren King, Rebecca Krohn, Erica Pereira, and especially Ana Sophia Scheller as Fairies of Tenderness, Vivacity, Generosity, Eloquence, and Courage respectively), the fun “wedding scene” with all the cute virtuosity-driven duets for the fairy tale characters (once again, loved Sean Suozzi last week — here as Puss in Boots, and Stephanie Zungre as his partner the White Cat; loved Tiler Peck and Daniel Ulbricht as Bluebird and Princess Florine, loved Henry Seth as the Wolf but not sure why they had a little girl dance Little Red Riding Hood…), the “jewels” starring Stephen Hanna :), and of course the beatific Grand Wedding Pas De Deux between Bouder and Veyette.
I don’t know, there’s just never a dull moment: you go from the Rose Adagio with all the virtuosic balances for Aurora (and the handsome cavaliers), to the richly choreographed fairy variations (that seemed to me more Balanchine than Petipa), to the drama of Carabosse’s arrival with her creepy minions and the frightening spell she casts, to the sweet Vision scene, to the quick Awakening (nothing in this production is long and drawn out; each scene gets right to the point), to the Wedding with the entertaining guests, and ending with the beautiful pas de deux between Beauty and the Prince.
I can’t figure out what exactly is different between this version and the others I’ve seen before, but honestly, this hasn’t been one of my favorite story ballets. So I was just really floored by how captivating NYCB’s production was. I can’t wait to see a few more this week. NYCB is good at story ballets! If you’re in NY and you can make it sometime this week, do go!