Joburg Ballet has done it again! They have delivered a top-notch production of a ballet classic.
Joburg Ballet just keeps on getting better and better. Every production seems to be an improvement on the last one. Last year they ended on a high with their production of Cinderella, and they have started 2019 with a magical production of The Sleeping Beauty.
One gets goosebumps from the moment the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra starts playing the beautiful music by Tchaikovsky, and the orchestra is most ably conducted by Maestro Brandon Philips. His skill in this regard has improved from the last production in which the orchestra was featured, as he very ably both leads and follows the dancers. It was wonderful to see the way they obviously worked together, as dancers hit their poses with precise timing from the orchestra. One can only hope we see more productions with live music, as it lends a magical immediacy to the production, which dazzles.
The sets, designed by Anthony Farmer, are very beautiful, evoking a pop-up storybook feel, and the lighting design by Simon King perfectly illuminates the scene. The costumes are as magical as the story, giving the cast a light and airy feeling throughout, while effectively indicating the passage of time in Act II.
Nicole Ferreira-Dill as Princess Aurora has her work cut out for her, as the role is quite demanding. It was amazing to witness her skill as a dancer and one can only stand to admire her accomplished dancing, as she literally did not put a foot wrong! Leusson Muniz as Prince Florimund has certainly grown and matured since we last saw him in Carmen, and he looks confident and in charge. Their pas de deux in Act III was astounding with its technical precision and its almost dangerous quality, and the audience certainly showed their appreciation for this outstanding performance.
Nigel Hannah as Carabosse, the Wicked Fairy, stole the show with his character work, and brought a gravitas to a role which could easily have been a caricature.
Two dancers who stood out were Ruan Galdino and Shana Dewey as the Blue Bird and Princess Florine. They leapt about the stage with such energy and passion that it was almost impossible to keep up.
Honestly, there was not one performance that did not impress, from the Fairies and their Cavaliers to Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Even the little children who brought Princess Aurora gifts were magical.
With production and staging by Maina Gielgud, the company is in top form. The dancing is technically precise and the choreography shows off the obvious skill and athleticism of the dancers. This is classical ballet at its best and the whole company must be congratulated on a job well done.
Tickets are selling out fast, so if you want to catch this production, you’d better jump!
This production at the Joburg Theatre is still on until 7 April 2019. For more info and bookings visit https://www.joburgtheatre.com/sleeping-beauty-ballet-info/