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Rita Kohn
Performance Reviews
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
United States
Indianapolis, IN

Butler Ballet - The Sleeping Beauty 05-06-11

by Rita Kohn
April 30, 2011
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
4602 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208
3 ½ stars
Music by Tchaikovsky; libretto by Vsevolozhsky from Perault's fairy tale;
Butler Ballet, Larry A. Attaway, executive director; faculty choreography based on the original St. Petersburg 1890 premiere by Marius Petipa;
Clowes Memorial Hall, Indianapolis; April 29-30 & May 1.

This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
It's not every week we are invited to two Royal Weddings (and public kisses)—the first via London, the second just around the corner. Delightfully portrayed as a fairy tale where good and love trumps evil and vindictiveness, beauty is more than skin deep and awakening after a century requires an updated wardrobe and dancing style, Butler's troupe of 120 dancers showed they were having fun while taking seriously good technique and clearly defined characterization. The Butler Ballet Orchestra under Richard Auldon Clark spiritedly merged music with what 120 years ago was 'contemporary' choreography with each of the three acts delivering memorable focal points. In the prologue it is the adagio and variations of the gift-bearing fairies, particularly the Lilac Fairy. Closing the first act is the lovely adagio of Princess Aurora with the four princes. In the second act, the "Dance of the Nymphs" (named Dryads here) was charming within the adagio for Prince Desire and the vision of Princess Aurora. The fourth act dramatic moment is the grand pas de deux pitting the evil-minded Carabosse against the Lilac Fairy who represents the over-riding theme of love as the enduring life force. Petipa's original concept remains fresh and poignant through this production's choreography by Stephan Laurent, Cynthia Pratt, Marek Cholewa, Tong Wang, Susan McGuire and Derek Reid. Credit all the soloists and the company for focused performances to bring forward the poetry and passion of love in a spectrum of colors and phases. Guest artist James Cramer in the character role of King Florestan set the pace with his fatherly wonderment as he holds his newborn daughter. The new set designed and crafted by Karl Kauffman worked perfectly with lighting designed by Anthony Bauer. At the April 30 performance Lindsay Moncrieff danced the role of Aurora in Acts 1 and 3; Erin Langston portrayed the princess in Act 2; Kristen Francomano danced Carabose; Jennifer Martin, Lilac Fairy; Anna Mikaila Koenig, Kathryn Austin, Madalyn Menor and Olivia Yoch, the other four fairies; Garrett Glassman, Prince Desire.
Butler Ballet's Garrett Glassman and Erin Langston in 'The Sleeping Beauty'

Butler Ballet's Garrett Glassman and Erin Langston in "The Sleeping Beauty"

Photo © & courtesy of Brent Smith

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