ABT performed Alexei Ratmansky’s The Sleeping Beauty at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. last week. Here are two reviews:
Alexei Ratmansky’s newest staging of the great classical ballet The Sleeping Beauty feels like that moment in the classic MGM film The Wizard of Oz when the scene goes from black and white to Technicolor. Ratmansky has returned color, style and detail to the warhorse 1890 ballet, which, has, over succeeding decades, lost its identifying roots.
The ABT dancers have tackled the challenges of the more restrained and pure technique and have acclimated themselves wonderfully to the specificity of the mime. As a whole the dancers have a sturdy, solid look, both corps de ballet and principals, which works impeccably well, rather than the gaunt, idealized thinness of late-20th century ballet dancers (here I’m thinking of the Mariinsky’s 1999 revival).
Newly promoted Stella Abrera was elegant and lovely as the Lilac Fairy. Daniil Simkin as the Blue Bird refreshingly burst with energy as he leapt across the stage. However, it sometimes felt as if there was not enough movement. The dancers too frequently maneuvered themselves into overly posed positions, as if subjects in a painting of the 1921 production and not actively performing themselves. At times, the audience could even see the dancers struggle to stay still. This choreography was perhaps true to Ratmansky’s vision of honoring an iconic production, but does not play as well to contemporary audiences.
The Sleeping Beauty is a story about rediscovering the past in order to find happiness. By delving into ballet’s roots, Ratmansky crafted a sumptuous world complete with a happy ending.