A while ago we wrote about the joys of seeing different casts in the same ballet.Â While classics such as The Sleeping Beauty do not leave much room for highly individual interpretations of the central roles they still provide an interesting study of technical and artistic abilities of different ballerinas. In that spirit we took advantage of a mammoth run (8 principal casts & countless performances between October & January this season) to watch 5 different Auroras and Prince Florimunds in the Royal Balletâ€™s exquisite production.
Rather than bore our readers with details of each of these equally stunning performances (although we did write about “guest of honour” Obraztsova back in Nov) we thought weâ€™d do something different. Last season we drew inspiration from PJ Harvey’s romantic indie rock to write a Giselle & Albrecht roundup; we now look at the dancers’ styles and align them with some of our favorite fashion designers. Thus, in order of performance:
Alina Cojocaru + Johan Kobborg = Vintage Balenciaga
Forget Nicholas GhesquiÃ¨reâ€™s sacrilegious reinterpretation of this emblematic fashion house. Weâ€™re thinking Alina & Johanâ€™s Sleeping Beauty has the same grandeur as CristÃ³bal Balenciagaâ€™s original designs of the 50â€™s: superbly cut dance, rich in accents, clear in steps. Alinaâ€™s Rose Adagio is a thrilling display of how artistic maturity can make the impossible seem easy. One marvels at how she â€“ whilst balancing on pointe – lowers her arms so slowly to take each suitorâ€™s hand; or at the way she alternates her port de bras while zipping through piquÃ© turns. It all looks as easy and effortless as Balenciagaâ€™s illustrious cape. And this most elegant of Auroras has the lucky draw of Kobborg’s perfectly tailored prince, the most attentive of partners.
Yevgenia Obraztsova + David Makhateli = John Galliano for Dior
Like Diorâ€™s maverick designer Obraztsova and Makhateli showed an incurably Romantic streak in their rendition of Sleeping Beauty. Softly touching the Prince in the Act II vision scene as if to tease him (the only Aurora to do this), Obraztsova creates a dreamy, young love mood. This is a pairing which was never too flashy or too daring, opting instead for polished dancing combined with Romantic touches like Dior’s perfectly cut, well structured taffeta gowns. Further reading here.
Roberta Marquez + Steven McRae = Marc Jacobs
This was a fun performance to watch. Young, bold, colorful just like the US fashion designer who gives traditional fashion cut a modern twist. We particularly loved the way this pair told the story: Marquezâ€™s totally likeable, coquettish & sure-footed Aurora gradually melting the heart of McRaeâ€™s spoiled Prince. His passionate temper spoke volumes in the most exciting Act IIIÂ variation we have seen over the last two seasons of Beauty.
Marianela NuÃ±ez + Thiago Soares = Versace
In the same way Versace is all about female empowerment, plunging necklines, sparkling fabrics and vertiginous cuts, so is NuÃ±ez’s Beauty. She is radiant: her dancing razor-sharp, her Act II variation lush and sinuous. The wedding in Act III is a grandiose event where a fully grown, very womanly Aurora confidently takes centre stage. Soares was her fairytale Prince, handsome in posture and completely spellbound by this princess-goddess.
Tamara Rojo + Rupert Pennefather = Prada
This was a trÃ¨s chic Sleeping Beauty. Rojo & Pennefatherâ€™s polished reading for Aurora & Florimund seems cut in the same symmetrical minimalism â€“ not a pleat in excess or out of place â€“ as garments from this very stylish Italian fashion house. Any Auroras out there with a penchant for ultra-extended dÃ©veloppÃ©s Ã la seconde (more on the evolution of this ballet step here) should watch Rojo’s demonstration of how “less is more” in classical ballet. Her balances are now the stuff of legends and her pure, classical style, so admired by Mr. Clement Crisp, is well matched by Pennefatherâ€™s danseur noble Florimund. His Ashtonian solo during the vision scene is an eloquent counterpoint to Aurora’s own Rose Adagio. While this is not the pair for those who need their romance with extra layers of pink, you could not wish for a more regal and musical Act III wedding pas de deux where Rojoâ€™s trademark travelling fouettÃ©es in the coda are the bonus.
We love BRB’s Sleeping Beauty, this was an early performance roundup – they have recently evolved to capture productions more widely (eg. see our “Giselle Fab or Fail” post). Thanks for suggestion. We’re planning to feature BRB when we cover Cinderella so stay tuned!
Slightly late but can I point out that there is more than one Royal Ballet company in the country (Royal Ballet- based in London and never leave London- and Birmingham Royal Ballet- based in Birmingham but tour to Salford, Sunderland, Plymouth, London, Cheltenham, Poole, York, Sheffield…) and shortly after this was posted the company (BRB) with the better production (and this is a widely held opinion, the Royal’s has been critically massacred) did in fact tour with Peter Wright’s production. It would have been really nice if that had been mentioned!!!
Romeo and Juliet Roundup
[...] to each of their partners brought Tamara and Rupert together in this ballet. They have been a successful partnership in 18th century classics like Giselle, La Sylphide and The Sleeping Beauty but here in Romeo and [...]
LOL!! I think they do indeed: http://www.splendicity.com/shoeblitz/files/2007/08/prada_captoe_pump.jpg
Well, after Indie rock & Fashion design we’re scratching our heads to find a common denominator for the next round up. I think one day we may have to steal your comic-book inspiration : )
Does Prada make shoes with soup cans around the toes? OK, Cojucaru doesn’t wear shoes with such enormous boxes anymore (at least she didn’t the last time I saw her), but wow. OK, I’m done. I know next to nothing about these fashion houses. Ice cream and comic-book artists I can do, but I bow to your finer fashion sense.