Lade Inhalt...

The Sleeping Beauty: Ballet Choreography

Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz 2017 4 Seiten

Amerikanistik - Komparatistik



Choreography refers to the art of designing dance moves to fit a given musical best. Mainly, it involves ordering sequences of body movements lain over the period of a song, often for ballet or staged dances (Sita 6). There are numerous choreographies created over the years, and the courses therein vary, depending on the tempo and mood of the songs, which in turn are informed by the genre of music in the play. In this regard, the essay seeks to offer an in-depth investigation of a The Sleeping Beauty, which is a piece of choreography replicated over the years. In its entirety, the theme shall detail a brief history of the choreography, its performances, facts, comparisons, and contrasts, as well as opinions about the originality and replication of the same.

Historical References

The sleeping beauty choreography was initially created by Marius Petipa and performed on January 18, 1890, under the guise of ballet composition by Pyotr Illych at the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg. The conception of the idea behind the choreography attributes to Ivan Vsevolozsky, a Russian who oversaw the operations of the Imperial Theatres.


In the recent past, the Sleeping Beauty has been performed numerous times with most frequencies noted within Europe and the United States. After its premiere at St Petersburg, the choreography performance appeared in Moscow’s Imperial Bolshoi Theatre in 1899, under the mastery of Aleksandr Gorsky. Other notable dates and locations associated with this great choreography include the 1896 Milan performance; London 1921, Philadelphia USA, 1937; London Opera House, 1946 and the Royal Festival Ballet of 1968; the San Francisco Ballet of 1990 and the 1992 Basel Theatre performance, which involved slight alterations to the original work.

Significant events of the ballet spread evenly over the years and continents. However, the most dominant locations remain in and around Britain. Productions are often undertaken in school setups for works of arts, as well as on commercial levels. There are variations from one event to another that are incorporated in the choreography, based on the interpretation of the motions of the inspiring novel by Charles. Significant performances may occur once or twice in a year with some meant to mark commemorations.

Origination and Notability

The genesis of the choreography revolves around the need to associate dance with the German romance novel titled Undine, which features a tale of water spirit that sought to have a soul; thus, marrying a Knight (Jola, Pollick and Grosbras 378). The purpose was to add effect to the performance of the novel. However, the goal shifted to a different novella, ‘ La Belle au Bois dormant,’ written by Charles Perrault. Thus, the inspiration behind the choreographic composition was French. The thematic drive also emanated from the themes of the literary work, which construct on the forces of good against the evil, which in French refer to ‘Lilac Fairy’ and ‘Carabosse’ respectively. Naturally, good and evil are features of human life that revolve around each other. As such, the choreography has moves that insinuate this revolution by having two or more dancers pirouette around each other almost endlessly.

The choreography is outstanding, having critical performances that marked history related to it. In 1946, it was the mark of the end of World War II for the French and English theatres. Typically, it was performed at the Royal Opera House and revived by the Director of The Royal Ballet, Monica Mason in 2006. Other performances took place in Britain from late 2016 to the first few months of 2017. Actors such as Robert Helpmann and Margot Fonteyn have been the lead characters. The choreography has attracted the interest of the Royal Family, as well as other renowned philanthropists such as Aline Hans, Lindsay and Sarah Tomlinson, Julia Rausing, Foriel-Destezet plus The Royal Opera House Endowment Fund.


An interesting fact about the Sleeping Beauty Choreography is that it is over a century old and still very celebrated. Notably, it has the potential to grow into different dimensions based on interpretations at the time of play. There are significant variations made on the moves and set in whole while some features of it remain entirely whole and the same.

Themes behind the choreography remain the same- the basis of good over evil and the artistic representation of the same with musical accompaniment (Mitchell-Smith 209). Descriptions of sound are categorized as Lilac Fairy and that of evil Carabosse. The character roles for each play, irrespective of time have also not changed as the same pegs on the maiden theatre names given by the pioneers of the choreography. The individuals undertaking the roles have changed due to demise or retirement of original actors over the years and the geographical locations of where the choreography happens. However, the naming of positions is still the same with first acts being the King, Queen, Princess Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Carabosse, Prince Desire, Bluebird and Princess Florine.

The variations are quite pronounced as compared to similarities to the original choreography. The arrangement varies from one event to another. For instance, the performance at the Royal Theatre in 2016 had prolonged scenes and interchanged precision of Act III where the Procession of the Fairy Tales came at the middle of the act, instead of commencing the play (Osborne 1). The instrumentation has over the years been varied to a more significant extent to suit the trends of the time. Improvements are incurred on the original piano player, for example, as more and more pianists seek to give their uplifted versions. Thus, there is a more extended period under which music plays on, and the choreography is elongated. Playwrights and composers have also interpolated the choreography. Specifically, it was evident that the demise or retirement of role players means a change of characters in the choreography. The embracing of new cultures and fashions says there is a change in costumes used, as well as stage props that enhance ballet.


The initially intended information can be maintained in a work of art or discarded over the years through variations and intentional deletions. The choice to support or do away with original integrity of choreographies has both positive and negative motivation.

Typically, it is essential to maintain the choreography to allow viewers experience the intended message and experience what the composer had in mind at the time. Also, for commercial purposes, original integrity enables the composers to earn continuously from the venture.

On the contrary, retaining integrity is not as important due to changes in trends and emerging issues in art that need to be affixed to the already existing works such that they befit the regular times. A younger generation requires relevant information on choreographies to identify with the same. Sticking to the initial approach created at inception means lack of luster that; thus, inhibits the commercial success of events with these acts. The latter attributes to the explanation that failure to keep abreast with changing times impacts on the choreographic reach.

Restaging Important Pieces of Work

Restaging is a concept that takes into account the capacity to view something from a different angle. Thus, it refers to presenting a play or work of art a second or third or more time only in a different way from the original arrangement (Phelan 14). The outcome of this concept can be successful if the new presentation is found to be more appealing than the original one. Unfortunately, there is the risk incurred in the new introduction turning out as substandard and unappealing to viewers.

The Sleeping Beauty choreography is no exception when it comes to restaging. However, the success of this lies in professionalism and experience since not everyone accesses restaging of the choreography. There should be thresholds whereby one or a group should surpass to work through restaging the work without high risks of failure. A good instance is the restaging undertaken in 2016 by the Royal Theatre in its event where the Sleeping Beauty restaged through input from exceptionally able art icons. The sketch was successful with numerous interpolations of the work seamlessly undertaken.


The Sleeping Beauty choreography fetches inspiration from Charles Perrault's novel, La Belle au Bois dormant. The book is written around the theme of good and evil, and it is from this that the choreography establishes moves and play roles. Over the years, variations on the work of art have resulted in the incorporation of different aspects of the original work by Marius Petipa. Performances and intended message integrity have been a vital feature of this works, and it is critical to admit that changes can be made to work, but only to vide artists who have such commendable artistic intuitions. Nonetheless, the Sleeping Beauty still thrives over a century since its conception.

Works Cited

Jola, Corinne, Pollick, Frank E, and Grosbras, Marie-Hélène. "Arousal decrease in sleeping beauty: Audiences' neurophysiological correlates to watching a narrative dance performance of two-and-a-half hours."Dance Research 29.supplement (2011): 378-403. Print.

Mitchell-Smith, Ilan. "The United Princesses of America: Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Purity in Disney’s Medieval Past."The Disney Middle Ages, 2012: 209-224. Print.

Osborne, John. A Subject of Scandal and Concern. New York: Oberon Books, 2016. Print.

Phelan, Peggy. Live Art in LA: Performance in Southern California, 1970-1983. London: Routledge, 2012: 14. Print.

Sita, Popat. Invisible connections: dance, choreography and internet communities. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.



ISBN (eBook)
Institution / Hochschule
University of Nairobi
sleeping beauty ballet choreography



Titel: The Sleeping Beauty: Ballet Choreography