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Arts and Entertainment

Ballet Review: The Sleeping Beauty at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

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In center, Julie Kent, Michele Wiles and Ethan Stiefel in The Sleeping Beauty at the Music Center this weekend. | Photo by Gene Schiavone

In center, Julie Kent, Michele Wiles and Ethan Stiefel in The Sleeping Beauty at the Music Center this weekend. | Photo by Gene Schiavone
- by Ellen Reid for LAist

Make no mistake, The Sleeping Beauty is a bona fide ballet: There are tutus, fairies, sparkles, flowers, lots of little girls and even an American Girl Doll you can buy at the T-shirt stand.  But, the American Ballet Theater’s (ABT) execution of The Sleeping Beauty is an amazing union of the strength, athleticism, grace and precision of the dancers on stage with the fluff that makes an evening at the ballet both lavish and glorious.
The men in this ballet could jump. With original choreography by the late Marius Petipa, who also choreographed Swan Lake, and additional choreography in this ABT production by Kevin McKenzie, Gelsey Kirkland and Michael Chernov, The Sleeping Beauty featured jump sequences that challenged the pull of gravity. Marcelo Gomes, who played the Prince Desire, commanded the stage from the moment he entered. It seemed as if he leapt half way across the stage in one single bound.  What a way for the prince to enter! The chemistry between Princess Aurora (Gillian Murphy) and Marcelo Gomes was definitely believable. Murphy, a powerful and graceful dancer, gave a compelling performance as the fated princess.

The run away rock star of the evening was the young Daniil Simkin. This 22-year-old rising ballet star danced the role of Bluebird. Although Bluebird only appears in the final act, Simkin’s performance was so memorable that it seemed like one of the main roles of the entire ballet. There was no doubt watching Simkin that he loves to dance. The joy and ease with which he moved through the space brought the audience into spontaneous applause after his solo.

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Other great performances were given by Christine Sevchenko, the Fairy of Joy and Nancy Raffa, the evil Fairy Carabosse (who enters via fireworks and fog machine).

The Sleeping Beauty only runs this weekend; so if you’re interested in indulging in a night or an afternoon of impressive dance ensconced in fairy princess land, don’t hesitate! (The roles of Princess Aurora and Prince Desire rotate each night amongst the ABT principal dancers.)

The Sleeping Beauty
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 pm
Sunday at 2 pm
Tickets: $30-$120