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Repertoire Spotlight: The Sleeping Beauty

A Beginner’s Guide to The Sleeping Beauty

Choreographer: Marius Petipa

Composer: Peter Tchaikovsky

Story: Based on the French fairy tale La Belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault

Premiere: 1890, Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg

Quick Facts:

1. Other fairy tale characters such as Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and Bluebird feature in Act 3 of the ballet.

2. In the popular Walt Disney version of the story, the evil fairy Caraboose is named Maleficent.

3. The Sleeping Beauty is Tchaikovsky’s longest ballet, totaling nearly 4 hours (including intermissions). As a result, the ballet is almost always cut to shorten the length of it!


PROLOGUE: The King and Queen hold a grand christening to welcome their new born daughter, Princess Aurora. Six fairies are invited to the christening to bestow their gifts upon Aurora, including the most beautiful and powerful fairy, the Lilac Fairy. All the fairies dance and give their gifts to the baby girl but are interrupted by the arrival of the evil fairy Caraboose. Caraboose was not invited to the christening and places a curse on Princess Aurora as revenge – Aurora will grow up to be a beautiful young princess, but on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. The King and Queen are horrified at the curse and beg for mercy, however the Lilac Fairy intervenes to change the curse instead to a 100-year sleep rather than death. The princess will be woken from the century-long slumber through the kiss from a handsome prince.

6 Fairies, including the Lilac Fairy (The Australian Ballet)
The evil Caraboose (Houston Ballet)

ACT I: Princess Aurora has grown into a beautiful young lady on her 16th birthday. Celebrations and festivities are underway as Princess Aurora arrives and is greeted by four suitors. She dances with them when a cloaked stranger arrives. The stranger offers a gift to Aurora: a spindle. Curious by this object she has never seen before, she dances with the gift as her parents try to intervene. Aurora pricks her finger on the spindle and collapses. The stranger reveals herself to be Caraboose and laughs as the curse she placed has rung true! However, the Lilac Fairy reminds the King and Queen that Aurora is merely just asleep. As Aurora is carried off to bed, the Lilac Fairy casts a spell that puts the entire kingdom to sleep only to be broken when Aurora wakes up.

ACT II: One hundred years later, Prince Desiree is attending a hunting party. In the forest, he meets the Lilac Fairy who has chosen him to awaken Aurora. She shows him a vision of the beautiful Princess Aurora, fast asleep with the others in a hidden castle. The prince is immediately smitten and asks to be taken to the princess. However, Caraboose attempts to cement her curse on the princess but the Lilac Fairy and Prince Desiree defeat her at last. At the castle, Prince Desiree kisses Aurora, breaking the spell and waking the entire kingdom. Aurora happily accepts his hand in marriage.

Act 2 of The Australian Ballet's production

ACT III: The royal wedding is underway with many famous guests including Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Jewel Fairies, and Princess Florine (Bluebird). The Lilac fairy blesses the union as Prince Desiree and Princess Aurora are married.

Ballet West celebrates the royal wedding

Famous Productions:

Walt Disney’s animated film The Sleeping Beauty


Don't forget to sign up for our new Ballet Repertoire term starting in July!

This class take place over the course of 10 weeks.

Dancers will learn the solo dances of Princess Aurora!

** Existing TBA students to receive 10% off term fees!! **


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