CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 10, 2015 – The River Campus welcomes back the world-renowned Russian National Ballet Theatre as it performs what is often considered the finest achievement of the classical ballet, “The Sleeping Beauty,” at 7:30 p.m. April 24 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.
Set to the music of Pyotr IlyichTchaikowski, with the original choreography of Marius Petipa, “The Sleeping Beauty” is one of the most popular full-length ballets of all time. Audiences will lose themselves in the soaring music as the premier danseur, prima ballerina and corps de ballet tell the tale of royal intrigue, love and passion in a magical kingdom.
“This is one of the purest evenings of ballet you can see, with Russians dancing to the original Russian choreography and music. Not only that, but this is one of the most beautiful stories ever told, complete with Prince Charming and his sleeping princess. The Russian National Ballet delivers an exciting and beautiful evening the entire family can enjoy,” said Bob Cerchio, assistant director of Southeast’s Earl and Margie Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts.
A baby princess, condemned at her christening by an evil fairy to prick her finger and die on her 16th birthday, is saved by the gift of the good Lilac Fairy, who declares the princess will only sleep until awakened by the kiss of a prince.
The fairy tale is replete with a king and queen, fairies both good and evil, a beautiful princess and a dream prince, magical stage effects and courtly splendor. Each of the three acts shows a different stage in Princess Aurora’s life. The first act focuses on her girlhood, the second on her falling in love with the prince, and the third on her wedding.
“The Sleeping Beauty,” a crowning jewel of Petipa’s career, is a grandiose and refined blending of the traditional mime, expressive pas d’action and spectacular divertissements in a lavish theatrical setting. Tchaikowski was delighted with the invitation to compose the music for a ballet based on Charles Perrault’s well-known fairy tale.
The Russian National Ballet Theatre was founded in Moscow during the transitional period of “Perestroika” in the late 1980s, when many of the great dancers and choreographers of the Soviet Union’s ballet institutions were exercising their newfound creative freedom by starting new, vibrant companies dedicated to the timeless tradition of classical Russian Ballet and invigorating this tradition as the Russians began to accept new developments in the dance from around the world.
The company, then titled the Soviet National Ballet, was founded by and incorporated graduates from the great Russian choreographic schools of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Perm. The principal dancers of the company came from the upper ranks of the great ballet companies and academies of Russia, and the companies of Riga, Kiev and even Warsaw.
Today, the Russian National Ballet Theatre is its own institution, with more than 50 dancers of singular instruction and vast experience, many of whom have been with the company since its inception.
In 1994, the legendary Bolshoi principal dancer Elena Radchenko was selected by presidential decree to assume the first permanent artistic directorship of the company. Radchenko is the founder of the Russian National Ballet Theatre, and she has focused the company on upholding the grand national tradition of the major Russian ballet works and developing new talents throughout Russia, with a repertory of virtually all of the great full works of Marius Petipa: “Don Quixote,” “La Bayadere,” “The Sleeping Beauty,” “Swan Lake,” “Raymonda,” “Paquita,” “Coppelia” and “La Sylphide,” as well as productions of, among others, “The Nutcracker,” “Sylvia” and “La Fille Mal Gardee.”
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or online at RiverCampusEvents.com.