BalletMet Artistic Director Gerard Charles has had a long time to think about “The Sleeping Beauty,” considered by many to be the pinnacle of classic ballet. “As a student at the Royal Ballet School, I got to appear as an extra at Covent Garden in several of the great ballets,” he recalled. “‘Sleeping Beauty’ was one of them.”
Later, Ben Stevenson’s “Sleeping Beauty” was one of the first ballets Charles danced in as a professional with Ballet International in London: “We did eight shows a week of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ and had plenty of time to think about all we liked about the work and the places that did not make so much sense to us.”
BalletMet first staged Charles’ version of Marius Petipa’s “Sleeping Beauty’ in 2000, revived it in 2007, and now is bringing it back for a third outing.
“This time around, I have not sought to dramatically alter any of the choreography,” Charles explained, “but with the gathering experience of time, and working with dancers who have worked with me for a longer time, I hope that we are digging deeper into the work.”
Time-honored though it may be, “Sleeping Beauty” continues to enthrall. As Charles puts it, “We have to keep to the valued traditions of the ballet but still breathe life into the work, keeping it fresh.”