Evaluation | Washington Ballet’s vibrant ‘Sleeping Magnificence’ is Julie Kent’s parting reward

Even in a kingdom of magical splendor — of fine fairies and witchy villainy — life blooms in intimate, relatable moments. Or so it’s within the Washington Ballet’s participating “The Sleeping Magnificence,” on the Kennedy Middle via Sunday. The run is a return engagement of the corporate’s 2019 manufacturing, staged by Inventive Director Julie Kent and her husband, Affiliate Inventive Director Victor Barbee, with an eye fixed to the troupe’s scale and strengths.

The manufacturing showcases bravura dancing that captures the enchantment within the story, the beloved story of a princess waked from a spell by a lovestruck prince. However recognizable amid the dazzle are intimate emotion, humor and vulnerability: Princess Aurora affectionately resting her cheek on Prince Désiré’s shoulder. The White Cat’s flirtatious swats at Puss-in-Boots. The way in which the depraved Fairy Carabosse briefly parodies the quivery hand gestures of a great fairy, the mockery amounting to a burst of very human spite.

Nonetheless, the movement-as-enchantment dimension dominated on opening night time, due to the virtuosic dancing within the divertissement-filled Act III, Aurora and Désiré’s wedding ceremony celebration. Of specific notice, Rench Soriano’s Bluebird appeared to hover within the air on his jumps. And Alexa Torres’s Princess Florine, the Bluebird’s accomplice, inscribed every motion with joyousness and clear classical traces, infused with a touch of avian fluttering.

They have been eye-catching figures amid Act III’s hovering palace-hall set, which epitomizes the exuberance of this manufacturing’s scenic design, by Alain Vaes. (The surroundings and beautiful costumes are courtesy of Salt Lake Metropolis’s Ballet West.)

As Aurora, Ayano Kimura lacked the buoyancy of Florine and the Bluebird, however she did convey an harmless pleasure suiting the character. In Act I’s well-known Rose Adagio sequence, wherein the princess, on her sixteenth birthday, clasps and releases the palms of a number of suitors whereas balancing on pointe on one leg, this Aurora’s air of dedication was apt. Exhibiting some effort in pulling off this feat, she may need been saying, “Look what I can do now that I’m sufficiently old!”

With such a go-getter as inheritor to the throne, it’s no marvel the villagers are celebrating with a good-looking garland dance, their actions deftly surging on the music’s upswings, their horseshoe-shaped wreathes undulating. Right here, and all through, Tchaikovsky’s rating sounded tuneful and expressive, if not recording worthy, by the hands of the Washington Ballet Orchestra, performed by Charles Barker.

The garland dance was simply one of many good sequences highlighting ensembles and throngs: courtiers and nymphs; christening, birthday and nuptial invitees; the attendants of the Lilac Fairy (an ready, if not scintillating Adelaide Clauss); and extra. When Désiré (a assured Masanori Takiguchi) breaks away from his looking get together in Act II and dances alone meditatively, his solitude is poignantly startling.

A loner in a extra existential sense is Carabosse (Nicholas Cowden, oozing pleasant malevolence), whose petulance at not being invited to Aurora’s christening units the entire narrative in movement. Certainly, this ballet gives an necessary takeaway: When throwing an enormous shindig, all the time make use of a top-notch occasion planner attuned to guest-list element.

“The Sleeping Magnificence,” which wraps up the Washington Ballet’s 2022-2023 season, is the ultimate providing below the inventive route of Kent, who’s leaving the corporate after seven years to hitch the management of Houston Ballet. Of the bouquets introduced onstage in the course of the curtain name, essentially the most elaborate one deservedly went to her.

The Washington Ballet performs “The Sleeping Magnificence” on the Kennedy Middle Eisenhower Theater via Sunday, with forged adjustments. Choreography after Marius Petipa; further choreography and staging by Julie Kent and Victor Barbee. About 140 minutes. $25-$150. washingtonballet.org.

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