Friday, March 16, 2012

You have 36 hours to "Beauty"-fy yourself

I seldom blog twice in one day, but I chugged back into the office to urge you to spend some part of Saturday or Sunday watching N.C. Dance Theatre's "Sleeping Beauty." I have seldom seen the company dance with such confidence and poise -- perhaps never, in so large an undertaking as this. (Tickets:

Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux has based his version on the original choreography of Marius Petipa and stayed faithful to the "Beauty" I remember. I happened to catch Anna Gerberich's performance as the enchanted princess, a role in which she alternates with Alessandra Ball: Gerberich has just the right combination of tensile strength (especially in the Rose Adagio) and a liquidity that lets her melt from move to move.

The costumes and sets, borrowed from Ballet West, are eye-catching down to the vine-covered scrim that descends when Aurora falls under her spell. Bonnefoux tapped not only his NCDT principals and NCDT 2 dancers but students from the school, who together form a surprisingly unified whole. (Nice to see Kati Hanlon Mayo, who'd have been a fine Aurora in her day, in her cameo as the queen.)

"Magical" is an overused adjective, but it applies literally here. You could imagine little girls, bewitched by the grandeur and the satisfying story of wickedness vanquished, falling in love with ballet itself for a lifetime. It's remarkably hard for a mid-sized company to pull off a piece as large and difficult as this one, and you have until 2 p.m. Sunday to see how it could.