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Alberta Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty

By Ramiro Bustamante Torres with files from Ansharah Shakil, October 24 2023—

Alberta Ballet presents a timeless classic on a familiar background from Oct. 26 to 28 at the Southern Jubilee Auditorium. The Sleeping Beauty, will be performed with the Canadian Rockies as the backdrop of the story. Alberta Ballet has performed The Sleeping Beauty since 2018, making it a part of their usual repertoire, now with an Albertan twist to the performance.

While many are familiar with the animated film Sleeping Beauty (1959), the original cast of characters is much more diverse, but the main story remains the same. Princess Aurora is cursed as an infant to die on her sixteenth birthday, but instead falls into a deep slumber that can only be broken by the kiss of a prince. The cast and story have been transplanted into the familiar scenery of the nearby mountains which will add a flavour of home for Albertans. 

The Alberta Ballet and artistic director for the production, Christopher Anderson, shared his excitement about how this rendition pays homage to Albertan heritage while performing one of the landmarks of classical ballet in remarks to the Gauntlet

“My favourite part of this production of The Sleeping Beauty is the unique infusion of locality,” said Anderson. “By placing the ballet in Western Canada and utilizing distinctly Albertan flora and fauna, we have created something quite special while retaining the glory of this iconic ballet.”

Anderson shared that the ballet itself allows for adaptation to each ballet company which leads to the creation of an Albertan interpretation. With this re-interpretation, he explained that the strengths of the company can be highlighted, and pointed out that set changes were not the only thing they changed. Anderson had adapted the original choreography from Marius Petipa for the Alberta Ballet. 

“Two notable ways we achieved this is by featuring the five Fairies of the Prologue again in Act 3 and adding a variation for the Prince in Act 2,” he said. “There is just so much excitement in the studios. We also have several new dancers this season, which adds to our anticipation.”

The production also includes a children’s cast, typical for shows of this size, which will include dancers from the Calgary-based Alberta Ballet School. University students are able to purchase $40 rush tickets one hour before the show with a valid ID. 

Anderson encouraged people and students in particular to attend in order to take in a historical work of art that has influenced classical ballet immensely.

The Sleeping Beauty is a crown jewel of the Classical Ballet canon,” he said. “By reinterpreting The Sleeping Beauty for Alberta Ballet, we pay homage to our heritage and reconnect with a formational aspect of artistic expression.” 

The original ballet from Tchaikovsky runs to about four hours with a prologue and three acts, including intermission. Anderson said they will be performing two acts that run for two hours plus an intermission, but the production will still have iconic moments such as the Rose Adagio.

“Alberta is blessed to have such a world-class company of artists, and I hope the community will come out to support them and partake in this rare live experience,” said Anderson in a final statement. 

The production is directed at long-time fans of classical ballet but also adds the familiarity of Albertan scenery for newer audiences with space to demonstrate the Alberta Ballet company’s range. For tickets to see The Sleeping Beauty or to find out more about the Alberta Ballet’s season, check out their website here.

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