the Ballet
Ballet Encyclopedia

The Sleeping Beauty

Diana Bishneva and Viktor Varanov

Prologue: In King Florestan XXIV's castle they are celebrating the christening of the newborn Princess Aurora. The six invited fairies each bring a gift and bestow a blessing on the cradle. Suddenly, the wicked Carbosse, (played by a man), bursts in, offended at not being invited to the christening. She curses the baby to prick her finger on a spindle and die. To the relief of the court the Lilac Fairy has not yet given her gift, and she pronounces that the Princess will not die, but fall into a deep sleep from which she can only be awakened by the kiss of true love. Act I: Sixteen years have gone by during which every pin, thorn, and spinning wheel has been banished from the kingdom. The princess has grown into a beautiful girl. At her birthday ball four princes have arrived from around the world to ask her hand in marriage. An old woman approaches and gives her a gift that she has never seen before: a spinning wheel. The princess pricks her finger and falls asleep. Throwing of the disguise off an old woman, Carbosse appears triumphant before the court. The Lilac fairy arrives to keep her promise, and causes a thick forest to grow up around the palace, while everybody in it magically falls asleep, to awaken only when the princess does. A hundred years go by. Young prince Desiré makes a stops in a clearing in the forest. While his entourage plays, Desiré stands aside. The Lilac fairy appears to him and shows him a vision of the sleeping Princess Aurora. Entranced, Desiré approaches, but as he approaches the vision disappears. He begs the fairy to take him to the princess and follows her to the entrance of the silent palace. Desiré advances through the frozen court to the Princess, at his kiss she awakens as does rest of the court. Act III: Aurora's wedding to Desiré is being celebrated in the grand ballroom of the palace. Many characters dance including Puss-in-Boots and the white cat, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, and the Bluebirds. Finally, the happy couple dance before proceeding to their wedding and happiness.

of note:

This is one of the most famous of the ballets, and the music is known around the world. It was even used in the Disney version of the fairy tale. The dancing is known the world over as well. The Rose Adagio that the princess does in the first act is probably one of the most difficult adagios in existence, and the Bluebird pas de deux and the grand pas de deux are incredible.