After an absence of six years, the New York City Ballet revived Peter Martins’s “The Sleeping Beauty” to close out the Winter Season. A lot has changed at the ballet in that interim, including the departure of Martins himself. But I hadn’t seen this “Beauty” from the front in over 20 years (though I danced 11 different roles in the production in that span)—so for me, it was like seeing a premiere. I’d had it in my mind that Martins’s “Sleeping Beauty” was by far the best of his classical full-lengths (the others being “Romeo and Juliet” and “Swan Lake”), but I was wrong: it is as uneven as the rest of them. It has some truly beautiful moments, a lot of great dancing, and several glaring issues.
Unity Phelan as Princess Aurora and Andrew Veyette as Prince Désiré in "The Sleeping Beauty," choreography by Peter Martins. Photograph by Erin Baiano