Russian National Ballet Theatre's The Sleeping Beauty at Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
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Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College (BCBC) concludes its 2013-14 World of Dance series with the internationally acclaimed Russian National Ballet Theatre’s interpretation of The Sleeping Beauty.
With its fairy tale story of a beautiful princess, a passionate prince, and the evil spell that threatens their happiness together, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty was composed in 1888-89 as a commission by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, head of the Russian Imperial Theatres in St. Petersburg. Tchaikovsky did not hesitate to accept the commission, in spite of the fact that his previous ballet, Swan Lake, met with little success after its first year of performance.
Based on the Brothers Grimm’s version of Charles Perrault’s story La Belle au bois dormant, and choreographed by legendary Imperial Ballet Master Marius Petipa, The Sleeping Beauty premiered at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg on January 15, 1890. The premiere received more favorable accolades than Swan Lake and, by 1903, was the second most popular ballet in the repertory of the Imperial Ballet, having been performed 200 times in only 10 years.
The Sleeping Beauty was the first of Petipa’s classics to be seen in Western Europe. Under the title The Sleeping Princess, it was presented by Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929) in London in 1921. In 1939, it was remounted in Great Britain and has been considered the foundation of the Classical ballet repertory in that country ever since. It has now been adopted worldwide, and performance of the leading role remains a kind of initiation rite for aspiring ballerinas.
About Russian National Ballet Theatre
The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the transitional period of Perestroika in the late 1980s, when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union’s ballet institutions were exercising their new-found creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies dedicated not only to preserving the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet but also invigorating this tradition with new developments in dance from around the world.
The company, then titled the Soviet National Ballet, incorporated graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev and even Warsaw. Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with over 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience.
In 1994, the legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko was selected by Presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company. Ms. Radchenko has focused the company on upholding the grand national tradition of the major Russian ballet works and developing new talents throughout Russia, with a repertory of virtually all of the great full-length works of Petipa: Don Quixote, La Bayadere, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, Paquita, Coppelia and La Sylphide, as well as productions of, among others, The Nutcracker, Sylvia, and La Fille Mal Gardee.
Major support for Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts’ World of Dance series is provided by the Macy’s Foundation, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and The Harkness Foundation for Dance.
Venue Description: Founded in 1954, Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College presents outstanding performing arts and arts education programs, reflective of Brooklyn's diverse communities, at affordable prices. Each season, Brooklyn Center welcomes over 65,000 people to the 2,400 seat Walt Whitman Theatre, including up to 45,000 schoolchildren from over 300 schools who attend their SchoolTime series, one of the largest arts-in-education programs in the borough. In 2014-2015, Brooklyn Center will celebrate its 60th anniversary season, which will correspond with the opening of the new Leonard and Claire Tow Center for the Performing Arts at Brooklyn College.