When thinking of the fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty,” most people conjure images of the 1959 Disney cartoon, but the Colorado Ballet is aiming for a more chic vision. Saturday night in the grandiose Ellie Caulkins Opera House, the Colorado Ballet delivered a breathtaking performance of the classic fairy tale.
The performance started with all the right elements — music, costumes, set design and dancing — everything you need in a ballet. The lights went down, and as the orchestra struck their first few notes they were accompanied by the lovely noise of dozens of ballet slippers behind the curtain scuttling to take their positions. As the curtain went up, the audience was transported to an older time, filled with white wigs and velvet robes.
The set was lavish and detailed, reflecting the tone of the play, with hints of scary elements like dark, twisting branches. The costumes were full of great color and detail, but not too over the top, which added to the elaborateness of the show. Every ballerina supported a giant, glittery tutu and shiny tiara — every little girl’s dream.
But the best part of the show was the dancing — as it should be at a ballet. The talent of the dancers was technically impressive and aesthetically pleasing, and the amount of time the ladies stayed on pointe would make anyone’s toes sore. The choreography had essentials of traditional ballet, but also featured happy, light-hearted moments.
Some dancers stood out in particular. The prince, played by Alexei Tyukov, showed the skill of a male ballet dancer with impressive jumps and powerful pirouettes. His variations were strong and fluid. Also, while all the fairies were beautiful dancers, the leader of the pack — the Lilac Fairy, played by Shelby Dyer — captivated the crowd every time she was on stage.
The star of the show didn’t appear until after the prologue in Act 1. Sharon Wehner, playing Aurora, was the best dancer of the show, dancing with passion and showcasing her love of the art form in every movement. Throughout the performance she donned a gigantic smile that made her sweet and loveable. She and Tyukov had great chemistry and rhythm, resulting in show-stopping lifts.
With two intermissions the show bordered on too long, pushing about three hours. Cutting out the second intermission would have helped the show end under two and half hours and alleviate the antsy feeling that began to creep in after Act 3.
But the last act, the wedding ceremony, was by far my favorite and worth staying for, as it included classic fairy tale characters like Little Red Riding Hood, the Wolf and a delightful Puss-in-Boots. The act served as fun counterpart and a cherry on top for the whole performance.
Ballet is an under-appreciated art form, and its beauty does not appeal to everyone. But ballet brings precision, design and classical music to life, making it much more accessible than you might think.
Tickets are available here.
Contact CU Independent Editor-In-Chief Amanda Moutinho at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org