One of the pillars in the classical ballet history books is the iconic, "The Sleeping Beauty.” This timeless classic premiered in St Petersburg, Russia, in 1890 and continues to enchant audiences worldwide. On Saturday, May 20, Pacific Festival Ballet brings this visually stunning ballet to life in Thousand Oaks with a cast of 85 dancers lavishly costumed in tutus and tiaras. Much of the choreography staged for this production is from the original choreographer, Marius Petipa, known as the father of classical ballet. Petipa is considered one of the greatest choreographers of all times and he laid the cornerstone for 20th century ballet.
This beloved story of a young princess in a faraway land begins with Aurora’s christening where the court and benevolent fairies gather to bless her life with goodness and light. An uninvited visitor, Carabosse, the fairy of Revenge, crashes the palace festivities, placing a spell on the young princess. Aurora, however, is protected by her guardian fairies. Instead of the death curse Carabosse declared on her, the Lilac Fairy places Aurora into a deep sleep. Goodness conquers evil and the triumph of true love’s kiss restores Princess Aurora and her family’s kingdom to the life they were destined for. “The Sleeping Beauty” story ballet is a dramatic spectacle as Tchaikovsky’s music sweeps you down fairytale lane!
Pacific Festival Ballet, the resident company at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center, has taken on the challenge of mounting this magnificent ballet before.
“The Sleeping Beauty has a special place in my heart.” says Artistic Director Kim Maselli. “This ballet is the first production Pacific Festival Ballet presented in our inaugural season at the Civic Arts Plaza 28 years ago. We have produced ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ four different times now and it is exciting to see a new generation of talented young artists bring this classic ballet to life.”
Performers in “The Sleeping Beauty” are cast from professional dancers in the greater Los Angeles area as well as selected dancers from PFB’s training school, California Dance Theatre. Soloist roles will be performed by advanced high school dancers enrolled in their Pre-professional Training Program. This elite program is directed by Maselli and taught by world-class instructors. The goal of this program prepares up and coming artists for professional careers in the ballet world. To date, alumni are dancing professionally with companies around the United States. Current PTP dancers were accepted into summer programs at Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Louisville Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Kansas City Ballet and Indiana University in pursuit of furthering their ballet careers. In the meantime, sharing the stage with seasoned professionals, “The Sleeping Beauty” provides important opportunities for artistic growth and development.
Eighteen-year-old Abbey Wyrrick of Thousand Oaks will be dancing the title role of Princess Aurora and aspires to be a professional ballerina.
“This role has been a dream of mine since I was little. The technical and artistic demands present a challenge to me. So many exquisite ballerinas have taken on this coveted role, but I have been enjoying the process of exploring what’s going to make my Aurora personal. ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ ballet is truly a trademark for the ballet world,” says Wyrrick.
This family friendly fairytale comes to life at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center in Thousand Oaks on Saturday, May 20 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Box Office or through Ticketmaster.
Learn more at PacFestBallet.org.