Nature contrived to collaborate with art the evening of March 23, when frightful storms were mitigated into happy endings. In keeping with the theme of hopefulness overriding despair, we patiently waited out the storm (and tornado threats) in safe places on campus in the same way that the Princess and her Court went into its 100-year deep sleep. In retrospect this tale of a doomed princess - with music by Tchaikovsky and choreography by Pepita - whose life is taken by the prick of a spindle somewhat follows the movement from cottage industry to industrialization.
The large contingent of IU Ballet dancers rose to the demands of sustaining a real-life story surrounded by magical transformations. The dancers grew into the requirements of intuitive mime and a wide palette of dancing styles, delivering character and dancing roles with authority and injecting the delicate whimsy required to make the whole sparkle beneath the seriousness of living under a cloud of doom.
Michael Vernon aptly finessed the original Petipa choreography that has been handed down, adding with grace what has been lost to round out the story. C. David Higgins closed out his 40-year scenic design career with a beautifully rendered set. Stuart Chavetz conducted the Concert Orchestra with verve. March 23 and 24 at Indiana University, Bloomington.