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Great Performances | Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty

Posted by WMHT Web Editor on
Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty - Preview Choreographer Matthew Bourne gives the classic fairy tale ballet a Gothic spin.
The Fairies Dance for Aurora

The Fairies Dance for Aurora

Fairies dance for baby Aurora in Matthew Bourne's Sleeping Beauty.

Casting a Curse in Sleeping Beauty

Casting a Curse in Sleeping Beauty

The dark fairy Carabosse casts a curse on baby Aurora.

Aurora Dances in Her Sleep

Aurora Dances in Her Sleep

Princess Aurora's 100-year slumber becomes restless as it nears the end of its spell.

Watch Friday, April 25, 2014 at 9pm on WMHT TV.

Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty sees the popular choreographer return to the music of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to complete the trio of the composer’s ballet masterworks that started in 1992 with Nutcracker! and, most famously, in 1995, with the international hit Swan Lake.

Perrault’s timeless fairy tale, about a young girl cursed to sleep for 100 years, was turned into a legendary ballet by Tchaikovsky and choreographer, Marius Petipa, in 1890.

Bourne takes this date as his starting point, setting the christening of Aurora, the story’s heroine, in the year of the ballet’s first performance; the height of the fin-de-siecle period when fairies, vampires and decadent opulence fed the gothic imagination. As Aurora grows into a young woman (Hannah Vassallo), we move forwards in time to the more rigid, uptight Edwardian era; a mythical golden age of long summer afternoons, croquet on the lawn and new dance crazes. Years later, awakening from her century long slumber, Aurora finds herself in the modern day; a world more mysterious and wonderful than any Fairy story.

Matthew Bourne’s haunting new scenario is a gothic fairy tale for all ages; the traditional tale of good vs. evil and rebirth is turned upside-down, creating a supernatural love story, across the decades, that even the passage of time itself cannot hinder.


Princess Aurora
Hannah Vassallo

Dominic North

Count Lilac
Christopher Marney

Carabosse / Caradoc
Adam Maskell

King Benedict
Edwin Ray

Queen Eleanor
Kerry Biggin

Miss Maddox
Daisy May Kemp

The Fairies
Sophia Hurdley
Mari Kamata
Katy Lowenhoff
Liam Mower
Joe Walkling

Danny Collins, Pia Driver, Phil Jack Gardner, Tom Jackson Greaves, Nicole Kabera, Kate Lyons, Leon Moran, Luke Murphy, Ashley Shaw, Danny Reubens, Chris Trenfield

Bourne – dubbed “the most popular choreographer of theatrical dance in the Western World” by The New Yorker --  works again with three of his regular collaborators, and New Adventures Associate Artists: the Tony and Olivier award winning designers, Lez Brotherston (set and costumes), Paule Constable (lighting) and Paul Groothuis (sound).

The production was honored with multiple nominations in various awards competitions, winning Best Dance Production at the Manchester Theater Awards last year, Bourne taking the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement at the National Dance Awards in 2012. In covering the U.S. tour, The Wall Street Journal enthused, “Bourne’s vivid update is a prime example of the imagination and originality that have marked the choreographer’s dance productions,” while The New York Times declared, “This is Bourne at his best – a masterful storyteller.”