The original Sleeping Beauty ballet was premiered at the Maryinsky Theatre in St Petersburg on 16th January 1890 with music composed by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa’s choreography.
English Youth Ballet’s production has been updated from the original production and is set in the year 1896. When Aurora pricks her finger on her sixteenth birthday in 1912, instead of the original woodland and nymphs vision scene she is innovatively put in a cryogenic state, taken to the Arctic, looked after by the Cryonites (ice fairies) and later discovered by a royal artic explorer.
At the Christening we have the Duke and Duchess instead of the King and Queen; Relations, Friends and Guests instead of Fairies, and the good Aunt lilac as the sister of the Duchess. Aunt Carabosse is the uninvited nasty relation. However both characters retain their magic powers.
In Act 1 we have sewing needles instead of the traditional spinning wheel. The famous ‘Rose Adage’ is danced as Aurora’s vision of her future prince, linking in with Act 2 in which Aunt lilac shows the Prince his vision of Aurora.
At the Christening Aunt Lilac wisely retains her gift to the baby managing to use it by over-riding Carabosse’s evil predictions, finally to confront her and together with the Cryonites put her to death.
The Duke and Duchess host the wedding celebrations by presenting a divertissements of dances in honour of Aurora and her Prince.
All photographs: Bridget Hearne