Front Row Reviewers

Attend a Royal Celebration with the Sleeping Beauty ballet performed by Utah Valley Civic Ballet at the Ragan Theater

Front Row Reviewers

Front Row Reviewers

Review by Eliza Een, Front Row Reviewers

This spring the Utah Valley Civic Ballet performs the classic tale Sleeping Beauty by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky at the Ragan Theater inside UVU’s Student Life Building. UVCB’s production has an A and B cast, under the artistic direction of Earlet Meiners, Janessa Meiners, Päivi Lewis.  I had the pleasure of seeing Cast A. 

The story begins with a royal celebration for the birth of Princess Aurora, where many fairies have gathered to bestow their gifts. The fairy of darkness, Carabosse, crashes the party and in her anger leaves a curse on Princess Aurora, that she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. Thankfully, the Lilac Fairy is able to use her gift to soften the curse, promising 100 years of sleep instead of death, when Princess Aurora will be awakened by true love’s kiss. Aurora grows up and at her 16th birthday celebration as four suitors are presented for her hand, the curse comes to fruition and Aurora and her kingdom fall into their century-long sleep. Eventually a hunting party including Prince Florimund passes near and the Lilac Fairy shows him a vision of the beautiful Princess Aurora. The prince follows the fairy to the castle where they are hidden and defeats Carabosse and her followers. Prince Florimund breaks the curse with true love’s kiss and the kingdom wakes up. All are gathered to celebrate the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Florimund. 

As a ballet, the only spoken words during the show are the announcements for intermission and breaks, leaving the audience and cast to connect through movement and costuming to follow the story. The costumes (Cheyenne Son Davis, Janay Robison, Randi Miles) are beautiful, easily distinguishing each dancer and their characters, and highlighting the romantic fairytale world. UVCB has a detailed synopsis and cast list in their program to help this story come to life for the audience. Fans of the Disney animated movie Sleeping Beauty may recognize several of the songs that are borrowed from this famous ballet. 

The Lilac Fairy (Anna Hall, Aurora Harrell) is one of the most notable characters in the ballet, and plays a central role in each element of the plot. Hall’s grace and poise throughout the performance is evident in both her solo moments and pair dances with Christian Tippetts (Prince Florimund and various roles). Tippetts brings the show to new heights, often literally as he lifts other dancers into the air. 

Brianna Peterson (Cheyenne Son Davis) makes her first appearance as Princess Aurora after the prologue. Peterson’s dance with the four suitors shows off her skills in paired dance as she keeps her balance and pose while switching partners. My awe for her performance only grew as the show progressed, with the wedding finale and performances with Tippetts as a highlight. 

One of the standout performances is that of the Sapphire fairy, Abigail Bruker, during the wedding celebration with her dance partner, Janay Robison. 

Adelaide Awekamp (Carabosse, Krista Stone) plays up the contrast between her character Carabosse and the other fairies in both movement and costume. With minions following in her footsteps, danced by the Junior/Intermediate ensemble, they make striking figures on the stage. The ensemble as a whole adds more grandeur to the group numbers and climactic moments of the show, contrasting with the smaller dance numbers that help the performance feel more intimate. 

Ballet was my first introduction to dance as a young girl– I was about the size of Carabosse’s minions and the garland girls. While I’ve never achieved the level of discipline and skill on display in this cast, I still love ballet and from my personal experience have a deeper appreciation of the difficulty involved in many of these dances and in working together as an ensemble. Attending Sleeping Beauty with the Utah Valley Civic Ballet allowed me to bask in that nostalgia once again and live in the world of fairies and happily ever after for an evening. UVCB’s final performance of Sleeping Beauty is on March 18th at 7pm and we highly recommend for all ages to attend this delightful event. Those who are unfamiliar with the UVU campus can refer to the maps and links on the ticket website to find the Ragan Theater and available parking.

Utah Valley Civic Ballet presents: Sleeping Beauty by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
800 West University Parkway Orem, UT 84097
March 16, 2024, 1:30 PM, 7:00 PM, March 18, 2024, 7:00 PM
Tickets: $12-15, Eventbrite Tickets 
UVCB Facebook Page ; UVCB Instagram Account UVCB Website

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