Singapore Dance Theatre’s final offering for 2012 was Sleeping Beauty, which ran at The Esplanade from December 13 to 16.
With music by Tchaikovsky, choreography by Marius Petipa, and staging and additional choreography by SDT’s Director Janek Schergen, Sleeping Beauty is of course the story of Princess Aurora (Rosa Park), whose parents (played by Schergen himself and Megumi Sugita) didn’t invite the wicked fairy Carabosse (Heidi Zolker) to her christening, thereby angering the wicked fairy into cursing the Princess to grow up beautiful, but on her 16th birthday to prick her finger and die. However, the spell is interrupted by the Lilac Fairy (Chihiro Uchida) who alters the spell so that the Princess will sleep until she’s kissed by a prince (Cheng Peng) who loves her.
With stunning sets by Tracy Grant Lord that ranged from an elaborate castle interior that transformed seamlessly into the castle’s grounds and gardens, to forests and a glimmering boat, and not to mention Grant Lord’s magnificent brocade costumes that had fine detailing, the SDT dancers made this production shine all the more brilliantly with their captivating ballet techniques.
All the principal dancers showed a great degree of technicality and precision in their ballet footwork and body movements, whilst also employing the fluid style of contemporary and modern jazz steps in some of the items. At one stage of the production, Park balanced herself attitude en pointe for a good few seconds as each of her four suitors presented Princess Aurora with their gifts.
Petipa’s signature Pas de Trois was performed by May Yen Cheah, Kensuke Yorozu, and Timothy Coleman as Diamond, Silver, and Gold respectively, but was a little uncoordinated and messy in the beginning. However, when the three dancers collected themselves, the rest of the piece was delivered very well, with amazing prowess. Another Petipa movement, The Pas de Deux, performed by Nanase Tanaka (Princess Florine) and Zhao Jun (Bluebird), was cleaner and tighter in coordination and presentation as both dancers showed superb technical strength.
Sleeping Beauty is a triumph for SDT, which is set to turn 25 next year, as this was a ballet that required not only a large cast of actors and dancers, but also high technical superiority from all the performers, and it is indeed marvelous to see that SDT and the dancers have successfully pulled off a mesmerizing production indeed.