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Sunday, 2 December 2012

Ballet - The Sleeping Beauty - English National Ballet at the Manchester Opera House

Star rating - 9/10

My shaken faith in the magic of Christmas culture has been healthily restored by a wonderful trip to the ballet. I should say that I am no ballet expert, in fact I more often than not avoid watching dance in any form except the Strictly variety, but was taking a friend who loves it. And what a reward I got.

Attending the matinee performance was especially lovely - to be surrounded by dozens of excited girls, all dressed up in their best outfits, expectantly waiting for the magic to begin really added to the special atmosphere. 

The Sleeping Beauty is a beloved, romantic fairy tale, and the story of how the sleepy Princess Aurora is rescued from an evil witch's' spell by a handsome prince brings back fond memories of watching the Disney version as a little girl. But the way in which it was brought to life by the dazzling talents of the English National Ballet was awe inspiring.

The scenery was lovely, and the costumes an absolute sparkling marvel. But I would be hard pressed to choose between the enchanting , sweeping music of Tchaikovsky, and the grace and beauty of the ballet dancers as the ingredient I loved most. In truth the melding of the two was fantastic and dreamily beautiful.

The elegance and grace of the dancers was superb, particularly Tamara Rojo in the prima ballerina role of Aurora, and who is also the ENB Artistic Director. Vadim Muntagirov was also brilliant in the role of Prince Désiré, who rescues the princess from her century of slumbers. The athleticism and muscularity of the dancers is something to behold. The men looked more like Greek gods than humans.

This production was an absolute pleasure to witness - and restored the unfolding magic of the festive season. Totally recommended - I was spellbound for the whole three hours. I am sure a trip to the ballet will now be an annual Christmas staple.

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