The Sleeping Beauty

A new production of Marius Petipa's classical ballet "The Sleeping Beauty", with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and dances staged by Jean-Guillaume Bart, an outstanding French choreographer, danseur, and teacher, will premiere on October 29 and 30, 2016, at the Main Stage of the Russian State Academic Tovstonogov Bolshoi Drama Theatre.

The Sleeping Beauty ballet is Leonid Yacobson Theatre's first-ever collaboration with Jean-Guillaume Bart, a world-famous French dance teacher and choreographer who also performs at at the Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris. Mr. Bart already has some experience of working in Russia: in 2007, he oversaw the production of the Corsair ballet at the Yekaterinburg Opera and Ballet Theatre. But when he came to Saint-Petersburg, it was Sleeping Beauty that he chose to put on stage; not in the least because he earned the honorary title of Danseur Etoile for playing the part of Prince Désiré in this very same ballet.

Sleeping Beauty premièred in Saint-Petersburg in 1890. And from that point onward, this choreographic masterpiece has been firmly associated with France. The reason behind this, first and foremost, is the original choreography by the renowned Marius Petipa. Inspired by one of Charles Perrot's fairy-tales, he staged his new production in the style of Louis XIV, reminiscent of the Golden Age of classical dance and permeated with the splendour of Versailles.

However, the original ballet has undergone some drastic changes over the years that have passed since the first performance. These include changes in the audience's expectations, the ballet techniques, and the physical shape of the dancers. This is why the show that is being staged today by the Leonid Yacobson Ballet Theatre aims to revive the spectacular production of the past, in a way that would interest the modern public.

The choreographer's main goal has been to avoid turning the ballet into a synthetic art form, and to shift the focus from technical mastery, so that the dance does not become overly acrobatic. Jean-Guillaume Bart treats ballet as storytelling through body language. He believes that the combination of classical choreography and music has its own dynamic, expressive, and narrative capabilities. One good example of such storytelling tools will be the evil fairy Carabosse, who will dance instead of miming (as she did in the 1890 production). This character will be played by two dancers: female (who will portray her as an antipode to the Lilac Fairy) and male.

In addition, the audience is in for a special surprise: a pre-prologue, which will explain the backstory behind Carabosse's hatred, as well as behind many other events described by Perrot and Petipa.


A ballet in three acts
Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
Libretto by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Marius Petipa, and Jean-Guillaume Bart
Choreography by Marius Petipa and Jean-Guillaume Bart
Set and costume design by Olga Shaishmelashvili
Lighting design by Evgeny Ganzburg, Honoured Cultural Worker of the Russian Federation

Running time 3 hours 20 minutes
Presented with two intervals

The revived show premiered on OCTOBER 28, 2016

The Theatre would like to express its gratitude to Mr Toshihiko Takahashi for his support in creating the production.