Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Ballet West's latest production is "Sleeping Beauty," the well-known fairytale in literature and ballet. Courtesy Ballet West
Ballet West: Dancer makes classical debut in ‘Sleeping Beauty’

First Published Feb 06 2014 12:13 pm • Last Updated Feb 12 2014 09:59 am

"Sleeping Beauty" is a well-known fairy tale in literature and ballet. Almost equally well-known is the story in which an established star is injured and an emerging dancer takes center stage, bringing all his talent and potential to the part.

In his first leading role in a classical ballet, Adrian Fry was still flush with excitement one week before Ballet West’s opening Friday of "Sleeping Beauty," after stepping into the role when veteran dancer Christopher Ruud was injured.

At a glance

Ballet West’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’

Conceived and produced by Ballet West artistic director Adam Sklute and danced to Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score, this classic version of “The Sleeping Beauty” tells a tale of the triumph of good over evil. The king and queen celebrate the birth of their long-wished-for child, Princess Aurora. The fairies of Beauty, Joy, Kindness, Temperament and Wisdom are all invited, but the fairy of Jealousy is not and in anger she curses the child to prick her finger on a spindle and die. The fairy of Wisdom spares the princess and places her under an enchanting sleep lasting 100 years as she waits to be awakened by the kiss of a prince.

When » Feb. 7, 8 and 12-15 at 7:30 p.m.; 2 p.m. matinees Feb. 8-9 and 15-16

Where » Capitol Theatre, 50 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City

Tickets » $29-$80; at arttix.org, 801-355-ARTS or at the box office. Discounts for groups of 15 or more by calling Ballet West, 801-869-6900.

For more information » www.balletwest.org/Performances/TheSleepingBeauty

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"I’m less nervous than I was yesterday now that we’ve sweated it out once in rehearsal," Fry said. "But ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is supremely classical and demands such purity from the dancer."

Fortunately for Fry, he will be partnering with Katherine Lawrence, who knows the leading role of Princess Aurora well. She danced it in 2007 and again in 2011 when Ballet West premiered its current staging by artistic director Adam Sklute. Ruud has performed the lead role of Prince Desire many times, so despite his knee injury, he shows up for work every day to help teach the part.

Lawrence said when Ruud was her partner in 2011 he made it easy because he knew the role so well. "But this time it’s my turn to be the teacher and it’s hard to find the right words when so much of it is by feeling."

In a painstaking rehearsal last week, Sklute optimistically coached the dancers, calling Ruud in from the other studio to reclaim the information his body has committed to muscle memory.

"We use video and other technology to learn these parts," Fry said. "But dance is tribal, it needs to be handed down from one muscle to the other."

Ballet is the only art form in which the essence of a lead role is handed down purely one-on-one. The parts can’t be written down accurately, and it might come as a surprise to some that they are not preordained but are individualized and tailored to the talents and abilities of each individual dancer.

"It’s great to have people at the front of the room who know these ballets and know what it’s like to partner and be partnered in these roles," Fry said.

In such refined rehearsals, you’ll never hear the superficial platitudes familiar on TV dance-competition shows. Instead, Sklute translates the "give-me-more" TV hyperbole into constructive corrections that inform dancers’ performances from the inside out.


story continues below
story continues below

"It takes knowing each dancer — these are four distinctly different women doing Aurora," Sklute said. "Part of the history and tradition of ballet is that these grand classics were designed to be showcases for the leading dancers."

Sklute said he wants to stay true to the original classic by Marius Petipa, created to Tchaikovsky’s grand score, and explained that in some instances companies replicate the choreography exactly.

"But there are many different versions of these classics," Sklute said. "Whether using slightly different accents or adjusting the musical tempi , or choosing to start from the right or the left is individual."

Ballet West performed Sklute’s adaptation of "Sleeping Beauty" during a recent tour to Chicago. Dancers Christiana Bennett and Rex Tilton received positive reviews in the Chicago Tribune and the entire cast enjoyed a standing ovation.

And now the anticipation is building to know once the curtain rises what artistry and technical expertise these performers will bring to their debut roles.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.