Moscow Festival Ballet

I caught the performance of the Moscow Festival Ballet’s “The Sleeping Beauty” in Ames during the company’s tour last week. I will say right up front that I am no ballet expert, but I’m pretty sure this was one world-class performance. From the costumes to the set design to the principal dancers, this ballet was sheer perfection.

It helped that the storyline was familiar. The ballet tells the tale of Aurora, the infant princess condemned by an evil fairy to prick her finger and die on her 16th birthday, and of the good fairies’ spellbreaker that allows Aurora to only fall into a deep sleep — to be awakened by love’s true kiss.

The music by Tchaikovsky is also very famous, of course. My only slight source of disappointment is that the ballet company did not travel with a full symphony orchestra — that would have been impressive but, I’m sure, cost-prohibitive. The prerecorded music was excellent and, from where I sat, hard to distinguish from the real thing.

The full-length ballet consisted of a prologue (introducing Aurora as an infant, the evil curse, and the good fairies) and three acts: “The Spell,” “The Vision” / “The Awakening,” and “The Wedding.” Plenty of familiar characters appeared, and the audience, which included a large number of young children, was obviously delighted.

Principal dancer of the Bolshoi Ballet Sergei Radchenko founded the Moscow Festival Ballet in 1989. The performance in Ames was part of the Stephens Auditorium 2011-2012 Performing Arts Series.

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