meet me at the barre

While most people headed to the bar on Friday night (it really did seem like everyone was out and about – the city was packed!) I went to the ballet with some friends. And it was magic.

I’ve always wanted to go to the ballet but have never had the chance, so when the invite landed in my messages I did not hesitate to say, yes!  

After a year of pandemic misery (although, sorry Melbourne – you’re still battling!), it was positively splendid getting dressed up for a night at the ballet.

Last night was the opening night of Queensland Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty, which is playing now (4-19 June 2021) at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC.

As The Courier Mail described it today, the ballet was a “feast for all the senses and one of the most beautiful ballets ever created”.

While I spent the better part of the first half before intermission confused as to why there was no mirror or apple, what Puss in Boots was doing there and why there were fairies and not dwarfs – wrong, Disney story, Gosia! Sleeping Beauty NOT Snow White, yeah?! – I could not have put it better myself.

The costumes, the set design, the athleticism of the dancers, Tchaikovsky’s spellbinding musical score (played by a live orchestra!) that transcends you into the fairytale world of good versus evil … the entire ballet was marvellous. It was a magical delight.

Ballet Royalty

So, confession: I was ‘yesterday-years-old’ when I learned that Li Cunxin AO … as in the Li Cunxin from Mao’s Last Dancer (now streaming on Netflix) is currently the artistic director of the Queensland Ballet.

Mind. Blown.

“I am so excited to bring back The Sleeping Beauty this June at QPAC,” says Mr Cunxin in a promotional video on the Queensland Ballet’s website.

“This much-loved story is brought to life with Renaissance-inspired costumes, majestic sets and spectacular choreography.

“Audiences of all ages will love our Princess Aurora, graceful fairies, dancing cats and a spellbinding dragon all performed to Tchaikovsky’s incredible music.”

According to Queensland Ballet, his wife, “Mary Li will be returning to the stage for three special performances as The Queen:

  • “8 June at 6:30pm
  • “10 June at 7:30pm
  • “15 June at 6:30pm.”

Principal Debut

Neneka Yoshida recently spoke with Queensland Ballet about her debut Principal Artist role as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.

“It was a dream come true,” she says when asked how she felt when she learned that Aurora would be her first role as a Principal artist.

“This is my first time performing the role of Aurora.

“The role of Aurora is very technically challenging. The steps are quite simple, but they strictly follow the traditional classical style … there are so many controlled steps, and steps that require balance.

“From the moment Aurora appears on stage, she doesn’t stop dancing until she falls asleep under Carabosse’s spell.

“You need to have great stamina, but you also need to make those iconic steps look effortless and elegant.”

And that she did.

Ms Yoshida was breathtaking as Aurora. Her strength and endurance – her technicality, elegance, and grace. She certainly made those intricately complicated steps look beautiful and easy.

Queensland Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty is hand-on-heart a must-see (experience). It will move and captivate you … it will transport you, if only for a moment, to another world.

And given the year we’ve all had – a little bit of magic is exactly what we all need.   

Just make sure you remember it’s The Sleeping Beauty, not Snow White … and you’ll be fine 😉

For more information and to book your tickets for this must-see ballet, visit: queenslandballet.com.au/news/the-sleeping-beauty-a-must-see

x G.

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