Dancers will awake 'Sleeping Beauty' at Batte Center
Fairies, princesses, princes, bluebirds, rabbits and all other sorts of magical creatures will grace the stage of the Batte Center next Saturday as Bonita’s School of Ballet performs “Sleeping Beauty.”
“I chose Sleeping Beauty because it has so many solos in it that my advanced dancers can do,” Owner Band Instructor Bonita Simpson said. “It’s just one of the world’s most beloved fairy tales. It’s just a whimsical story about a princess and all these delightful fairies come and then a dashing prince comes.”
The ballet, danced to a score by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, was first performed in 1890 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The original choreography was by Marius Petipa, though other companies have added their own. Simpson will be performing some of the original choreography and some of her own.
“My dancers are strong enough to do a lot of the original choreography,” Simpson said.
The ballet tells the now well-known story of Sleeping Beauty, in which the witch Carabosse places a curse on Princess Aurora that she will prick her finger on her 16th birthday and fall asleep for 100 years only to be woken by a prince.
For the production, Simpson hired a few professional male dancers to partner with the soloists., giving them another chance to perform and a chance to work on dancing with a partner. They also rented scenery, backdrops and props and bought a few new costumes.
They have been working on the production for about two months, including choreography and costumes.
“Our sewing room has been in full production for two months now,” Simpson said. “Non-stop night and day. We’re making beautiful costumes for this.”
Simpson is pleased with the production, with about a week to go until curtain.
“The girls are doing a tremendous job,” she said. “It’s just a splendid ballet.”
About 100 students will be performing. The older, advanced students have solos, but there are plenty of roles for younger dancers. Simpson assigned different dances to different classes.
For her advanced dancers, she taught every dancer every solo and variation, then had them audition for her and chose the dancer that was best suited to the solo. Unlike in The Nutcracker, this ballet is not double-casted.
As the performance nears, the students are running through the ballet in its entirety.
“We had a rehearsal last Saturday and it went fabulously,” Simpson said. “It is going to be a strong production.”
Performances will be at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 27 at the Batte Center on Wingate University’s campus. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.ucyb.org, at Bonita’s School of Dance or from any cast member.
“I’d like to recommend this ballet for the entire family because it just takes you on a magical journey to an enchanted kingdom,” Simpson said. “It’s going to be fabulous.”