UNC Alumni Gregory K. Gonzales performs as Carabosse in The Colorado Ballet’s production of “The Sleeping Beauty.”. Courtesy of Artist of Colorado Ballet
The spellbinding and whimsical grace of dancers in the Colorado Ballet's "The Sleeping Beauty" led to an enthusiastic standing ovation on opening night Oct. 5. The well-known princess story fully delivered with fanciful twirls and leaps, a performance carved and embellished by the choreography of Marius Peptipa with music by Peter llyich Tchaikovsky.
Scheduled for performances until Oct. 21, the intricately painted backdrops conceptualize the ambiance of Ellie Caulkins Opera House at 1101 13th St. in Denver into an enchanted forest and decadent palace.
The lead role of Princess Aurora was played by Maria Mosina, a former member of the Bolshoi Ballet Grigorovich Company. In Act II, Mosina's athletic poise gave her the air of floating upon a foggy dream, surrounded by forest nymphs while being chased by the enamored advances of Prince Desiree (AlexeiTyukov). The scenic costume design by Peter Cazelet transported white tool tutus, red wine velvet cloaks and fairies glittering illusions into the dazzling pictures of a 100-year-old ballet made for the present.
Split into a prologue followed by three separate acts, the night featured an orchestral accompaniment of professional music directed by Adam Flatt. The prologue included shadowy cello strums and soft flutes, which were only one musical moment in several invented hours of "The Sleeping Beauty's" original score by Tchaikovsky.
As all of the characters introduced themselves in The christening scene, in which the evil witch Carabosse (Gregory K. Gonzales, a UNC Alumni who received Best Dancer Award while at UNC) becomes tragically enraged for not being invited to the Aurora's christen√√ing, she casts a spell that will cause Aurora to prick her finger on a spindle and die on her 16th birthday. In Act I: The Spell, because of the compassion of the magical fairies, the Lilac Fairy (Chandra Kuykendall) in particular, Aurora only falls asleep instead of dying. However, she can only be awakened from true love's first kiss. Harsh violin's and legendary cymbal crashes accompany the pre-destined moment so well demonstrated by Mosina's jig-sawed movement across the stage into collapse.
The illusive curtains between the manifestation of the abstract and concrete added to the articulation of this story book's nocturnal majesty. Act II: Scene I: The Vision enters as Prince Desiree and the Lilac Fairy battle Carabosse, and a battle of good and evil rhythmically dodges in and out of layers of forest hidden by a thin veil of vines and tree trunks. While in Act III: The Wedding, jewel and gold fairies and dancing cats and birds join the celebration of Aurora and Prince Desiree's wedding, bringing the plays' extraordinary characters to life.
Upcoming performances include "The Nutcracker" showing from Nov. 24-Dec. 24 and Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project showing from Mar. 29-31. Tickets range anywhere from $19-116, and the Colorado Ballet has announced that students will receive an additional 20 percent discount off of their tickets throughout the year. For more information, visit coloradoballet.org.