Dance Review: “The Sleeping Beauty”

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Nashville Ballet brings a timeless fairy tale to life during this exquisite production kicking off its 2017-18 season.

Nashville Ballet presents:
The Sleeping Beauty (Sept. 23-24; All ages)
TPAC’s Jackson Hall
505 Deaderick St., Nashville
615-792-4040 • nashvilleballet.com
Remaining showtimes: Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m.
Tickets: $40 – $97

Nashville Ballet kicks off its 2017-18 season with a family-favorite classic, The Sleeping Beauty. Set to Tchaikovsky’s impeccable music, the three-act production whisks the audience into a stunning rendition of the fairy tale. An interesting note, the first time The Sleeping Beauty was performed as a ballet was 1890. It is among the first combinations of ballet, fairy tale story and classical music.

Peter Cazalet’s elaborate scenery and costumes set the perfect stage for showcasing the immense talent of Nashville Ballet’s company dancers along with youth cast from the School of Nashville Ballet. They all work together seamlessly to bring the audience into the fairy tale world.

The always delightful and enchanting Kayla Rowser stars as Princess Aurora, and this is perhaps her crowning achievement to date. Aurora is physically demanding at a much higher level than other ballet roles, and Rowser delivers with commanding grace and finesse. She’s no doubt inspiring young ballerina hopefuls in the community as she continues to raise the bar of excellence with each subsequent performance in her career.

Judson Veach as Aurora’s Prince Desire perfectly compliments Rowser with his own top-notch performance. He’s a solid dancer who hits his marks with strength and poise while bringing a great sense of style and charm to the Nashville Ballet stage.

Kids will also enjoy seeing a few other storybook characters in attendance at Prince Desire and Princess Aurora’s wedding party in Act III — Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Belle and Beast, and White Cat and Puss in Boots. It’s a fun nod to Charles Perrault’s other characters. The standout performance here is courtesy of Sarah Pierce (White Cat) and Gerald Watson (Puss in Boots). Together, their slinking across the stage succinctly captures feline movement and playfulness with a touch of humor; it’s a favorite moment in the production.

While the story has a focus on love, it also depicts the timeless struggle between good and evil. The good Lilac Fairy (Katie Vasilopoulos) and evil fairy Carabosse (Jon Upleger) are representative of that classic conflict. The casting of a man as the evil fairy works well in this production. Upleger’s stature gives Carabosse a larger-than-life presence on the stage, which adds a lot of juicy oomph to the character’s wickedness.

The experience of Nashville Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is one your family must not miss!

 

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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