The Russian National Ballet delivered a glittering storybook version of The Sleeping Beauty
last weekend at The Palladium, reminding us that long before Cats
, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikowski [Russian transliteration in the printed program] and choreographer Marius Petipa created a dazzling White Cat and Puss-in-Boots interlude to make us smile.
During intermission, a child in the audience observed how this rendition was different from the film version, which has Princess Aurora pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. At this performance, it was a knitting needle. Yes, children are astute observers and good at comparisons.
The style of the Russian National Ballet is presentational rather than emotionally charged. Their miming and dancing told the story in a straight-forward, matter-of-fact manner. It was up to us in the seats to supply the highs and lows of emotions.
The invited Fairies delivered their gifts post-haste — here named Tenderness, Boldness, Generosity, Carelessness — without an ‘oh, oh’ gasp moment. Even the arrival of the evil-hearted Fairy Carabosse was underplayed. It was as if the fact that the King and Queen are stoic, stony-faced and struck down by horrible curse was just one of those things.
I went away from the March 22 performance with the assurance that several in this troupe of young dancers will one day become recognizable names. They danced well and safely, knowing that they’re traveling and need to stay fit for the next destination.