Re-Awakening The Sleeping Beauty

Tuesday, March 29 at 7:00 pm
The Carr Center | 311 E. Grand River, Detroit

Scene from Alexei Ratmansky's The Sleeping Beauty. Photo: Gene Schiavone.FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Attending “The Sleeping Beauty” at the Detroit Opera House? Learn more about the production with this FREE lecture, “Re-Awakening Sleeping Beauty: The Lively Debate over Alexei Ratmansky’s New Production” by Tim Scholl, Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature (Oberlin College).

Alexei Ratmansky’s 2015 production of Sleeping Beauty for American Ballet Theater caused a rather unprecedented stir in the dance community. The choreographer’s new version of Marius Petipa’s classic ballet wed elements of the first 1890 production for the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, preserved in dance notations from the early 1900s (with abundant archival material detailing its costumes, sets, and lighting) with designs inspired by the 1921 Diaghilev production, surely the most opulent staging in the ballet’s history. Ratmansky’s esteem as the twenty-first century’s pre-eminent maker of ballets added to this unusual juxtaposition of choreography based on the original with visual elements from the ballet’s first significant restaging and its audiences’ reception of the new work. His reputation as an auteur choreographer, one who leaves personal stamp on each historical work he revives, lent an additional layer of complexity to conversations in the press, social media, and theater lobbies. The result left dance professionals and audience members alike to ponder a set of questions concerning historical performance, authenticity, and the role of the re-stager/choreographer, as well as the ephemeral nature of ballet as an art form and how best to preserve it. Scholl’s lecture will explore these questions, using video and musical examples.