The Australian Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty

By Laurie Scarborough

The national Australian Ballet’s most recent touring production, Sleeping Beauty, recently came to Perth and being a dancer myself, I couldn’t miss an opportunity to see what the best of Australian dancers had to offer.

The show started with gorgeous fairy-book styled scenery set to the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of the musical accompaniment.

Let’s first talk about the dancing. The choreography sometimes didn’t let the dancers really show off their skills, but that being said the dancers were all lovely. The men especially were very strong, with an amazing performance by the Prince, who performed perfect triples tours and double cabriole, which, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, is very impressive.

That being said, I think in comparison to the Cape Town City Ballet, the female dancers from CTCB would have easily held their own against these Australian dancers (who are the best of the best), and this made me a proud Capetonian ballerina!

What really did set this production apart from local Cape Town productions was the scenery and costumes. The sets were truly amazing; they looked like they came straight out of a fairy-tale book, with gold trims, rose petals, a glitter curtain, and a decorated glass box for Sleeping Beauty to rest.

The costumes fitted the scenery perfectly, and they were bright and colourful, with an immense amount of detailing, such as tutus with feathering and glitter for almost all the female dancers. All 36 of the dancers also wore high quality wigs to fit with the Louis XIV-themed costumes.

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The sheer quantity of dancers (I think CTCB only has about 20 dancers at most), along with the cost of the scenery and costumes made it quite clear that the Australian ballet companies must receive a pretty impressive amount of sponsorships and grants. And it was amazing to see the potential difference that this money could make to productions. It is a pity that the CTCB struggle so much to gain sponsorships because the quality of dancers in the company is really top notch.

I look forward to the day when the CTCB is able to put on a lavish production such as this.


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