Sunday, May 31, 2020
‘Sleeping Beauty’ to Put Audience Under a Spell
Abbie Heaphy is playing the lead fairy in “Sleeping Beauty.”
Monday, May 6, 2019



When Christina Price introduced “Sleeping Beauty” to her young ballet students, she brought out a beautiful handmade tutu that had been embellished by Winkie McCray.

Price had worn it when she danced the role of Aurora, the fair princess in Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet, 15 years ago.

The lead cast for “Sleeping Beauty.”

“I saw a lot of knowing smiles, knowing she had danced Aurora the first time Footlight Dance staged the ballet,” said Footlight Dance Company Founder Hilarie Neely. “And there were lots of ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ from the girls. I think Christina had a lot of pride knowing she had been the original. And Robyn Fox, who was a lead fairy in that show brought her tutu, as well.”

Footlight Dance will present the ballet at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11, at Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater at the Community Campus in Hailey. It will reprise the ballet at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 12.

Tickets are $8, available in advance at Iconoclast Bookstore, the Footlight Dance Studio at the Community Campus in Hailey and at the door.

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky staged the first show of “The Sleeping Beauty” in 1890 at the Marinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. It was based on a Brothers Grimm’s version of Charles Perrault’s story of a young princess who came under a curse.

The Advanced Jazz dancers will add a touch of modern-day pizzazz to the production.

The focus of the ballet, which features beautiful waltzes in the first act, is on the fight between the forces of good, as represented by the Lilac Fairy and the forces of evil, portrayed by the evil queen Carabosse.

Carabosse, infuriated that she has not been invited to the christening of the new princess, puts a curse upon the baby. The princess will grow up to be a beautiful young lady but prick her finger on a spindle when she turns 16 and die, she said.

The good fairy intervenes and, while she doesn’t have enough power to undo the curse, she is able to change the curse. She changes the curse, putting the princess into a 100-year-sleep after which Princess Aurora will be awakened by the kiss of a handsome prince.

Disney popularized the tale in 1959 with an animated film in which the evil queen became Maleficent and the fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Prince Desire became Prince Charming, or Prince Phillip.

The Advanced Modern dancers will put a contemporary spin on “Sleeping Beauty,” as will Footlight Dance’s hip-hop kids.

The original ballet was three and a half hours long.

“We’ve trimmed it, particularly the third act where everyone came to the wedding between Princess Aurora and Prince Desire,” said Neely.

Tchaikovsky brought in characters like Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Puss in Boots, Tom Thumb and Goldilocks.

“All the fairy tales. In those days, Grimms’ Fairy Tales were so popular,” Neely said.

The cast features 190 dancers.

“I have a very strong cast of eight graduating seniors to play the leads,” said Neely, who founded Footlight Dance 36 years ago.

Bryn Downey will perform the part of Princess Aurora. Lemuel Reagan, a former Footlight Dance student now working on his theater and dance degree at Boise State University, will play the role of the prince.

Other graduating seniors in addition to Downey include Isabella Cronin, Abbie Heaphy, Emelia Morgan, Taylor Telfore, Laine Whittier, Chloe Henderson and Sophia Schoen.

Hilarie Neely, Shellrae Garnes and Mitra Boloix choreographed the original Footlight Dance ballet in 2004. Providing new choreography for this year’s production are instructors Christina Price, Robyn Fox, Gabi Bryant, Melodie Taylor-Mauldin, Jen Simpson, Leah Taylor, Kassidy Thompson, Anne Winton and Hilarie Neely.

The show runs two hours and 15 minutes.


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