This year’s IBC Spring Show will consist of two Acts:
- Act I, an excerpt of Sleeping Beauty (we will present Act III of the ballet, The Wedding scene);
- Act II: full-length ballet Paquita
Act II will feature Narek Martirosyan, Principal Dancer of New Jersey Ballet Company.
Sleeping Beauty, a ballet in three acts with prologue, was first performed in 1890. The score was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and completed in 1889, the second of his three ballets. The original scenario was conceived by Ivan Vsevolozhsky, and is based on Charles Perrault's fairy tale, La Belle au Bois Dormant. The choreographer of the original production was Marius Petipa.
The ballet was premiered on January 15, 1890, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia. It has has become one of the classical repertoire's most famous ballets.
After one hundred years of peaceful sleep, the Prince, with the help of the Lilac Fairy, defeats Carabosse, who attempts to cement her vengeful curse, and awakens Aurora with a kiss. The rest of the court wakes as well.
The royal wedding is underway. Guests include the vibrant Jewel Fairies: Diamond, Gold, Silver and Sapphire, and of course the Lilac Fairy. Fairytale characters are in attendance including: the delightful Pas de Caractère of Puss-in-Boots and the White Cat; Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf; Princess Florine and the Bluebird, the highlight here being the Bluebird Pas de Deux and the male soloists fiendish diagonal of Brisés Volés mirroring a bird in flight; and others. After all these guests have paid their respects to the bride and bridegroom, Aurora and Désiré dance the beautiful grand wedding Grand Pas de Deux, with the Lilac Fairy blessing the union. The whole assembly joins in a dance in their honor, and the kingdom rejoices.
Grand Pas Classique from Act II
In 1847, Paquita was staged for the first time in Russia for the Imperial Ballet of St. Petersburg by Marius Petipa, and Pierre-Frédéric Malavergne. In 1881, Petipa produced a revival of the ballet for which he added new pieces specially composed by Ludwig Minkus. Petipa's 1881 additions for Paquita (Paquita Pas de Trois for the first act and the Paquita Grand pas Classique and the Mazurka des Enfants for the last act) survived long after the full-length ballet left the stage. Today these pieces, particularly the Grand pas Classique, are major cornerstones of the traditional classical ballet repertory and have been staged by ballet companies throughout the world.
The tradition of including a series of multiple variations began in 1897 at a gala in Peterhof (the gala was held in honor of Empress Catherine The Great who ruled Russia for over 34 years, from 1762 to 1796). The ballerina Mathilde Kschessinskaya danced the role for Paquita in this performance and invited several soloists to be featured in their favorite variations extracted from various ballets.
The inclusion of multiple variations was again given in 1902 for a farewell benefit gala that was performed at the Mariinsky Theatre in honor of Enrico Cecchetti. Since nearly all of the leading ballerinas of the St. Petersburg Imperial Theaters were his pupils, they all wished to pay him homage, and the Paquita Grand pas Classique was chosen as the perfect vehicle to allow all of the ballerinas to perform. On the evening of this gala, some twenty-one variations were performed solidifying a tradition of including a series of variations for various ballerinas that has continued to the present day.
The original two-act ballet takes place in Spain during the occupation of Napoleon's army. The heroine is the young gypsy girl named Paquita. Unbeknownst to Paquita, she is really of noble birth, having been abducted by gypsies when she was an infant. She saves the life of a young French officer, Lucien d'Hervilly, who is the target of a Spanish governor who desires to have him killed by Iñigo, a gypsy chief. By way of a medallion she discovers that she is of noble birth. As such, she and the Officer are able to wed.