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When Beauty Awoke

How many ways to think about “Sleeping Beauty”? In the first written Italian and French versions, the plots outline the fate of a young girl as the object of family jealousy, trickery and, after being drugged asleep, ravishment. By the mid-19th century, the Brothers Grimm toned down the storyline, romanticized and adapted it as a story fit for children. Ivan Vsevolozhsky, Tchaikovsky, and Marius Petipa’s 1890 landmark ballet further refashioned it. But another few generations of scholarly research recognized the darker undertones and representations of girls in the fairy tale tradition. Apart from handsome swains or huntsmen who save damsels like Beauty or Red Riding Hood from stepmothers or disfigured crones, the producers of even the most treasured classics should take some measure of the plight of characters, even if fantasy.

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MARINA HARSS


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Blog posts

Common Language
INTERVIEWS | Candice Thompson

Common Language

Pre-pandemic, queerness and ballet were two terms not often put together. So, when choreographer Adriana Pierce started bringing a community of queer-identifying people together on Zoom—cis women, trans people of all genders, and nonbinary dancers—it felt like a watershed moment for many of them. 

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Living Doll
REVIEWS | Rachel Howard

Living Doll

Watching Pacific Northwest Ballet’s “Coppélia,” which the Seattle company generously released as a digital stream for distant fans, you could easily fall down two historically rewarding rabbit holes.

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Hammer Time
REVIEWS | Gracia Haby

Hammer Time

There was a series of warnings that led up to the moment it all fell apart, but no-one listened. Everything appeared to follow a linear trajectory, an illuminated, diagonal path that led straight to the suspended glass orb at the foot of the stage. 

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A Fourth Jewel
REVIEWS | Victoria Looseleaf

A Fourth Jewel

If, as George Balanchine once so famously pronounced, “Ballet is woman,” then director and choreographer Lincoln Jones showed off the gals in his troupe, American Contemporary Ballet (ACB), to great effect in his world premiere, “Sapphires.”

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