How many levels does an oft-told fairytale work on? That depends a great deal on the viewer and the journey they wish to take. A fanciful story is one level, while the symbolism within forms another layer, and what the tale has come to mean in modern times.
But place the fairytale in the world of ballet and you get something a bit different from the version found in books or on the screen: Dance does the talking, the emoting, the raising of drama and the finding of resolution. "The Sleeping Beauty," with a score by Tchaikovsky, has served as le ultimate, or at least one of the paragons of the fairytale-meets-movement form, for decades, and remains a standout in the realm of employing pirouettes and violins to spin out a textured story.
The Los Angeles Ballet is taking on the Tchaikovsky-scored, oh-so-textured story of a young maiden who slumbers under a wicked enchantment. Marius Petipa's original choreography is given true-hearted tribute in this new production, which boasts choreography by the ballet's co-artistic directors Thordal Christensen and Colleen Neary.
If you're tapping your chin and thinking that the troupe, which typically calls upon a few venues with a single show, has been on a Tchaikovsky run -- or leap, since this is ballet, is perhaps the better word -- you're correct: "Swan Lake" and "The Nutcracker" unfolded on local stages in 2014.
What to do, where to go and what to see
As for "The Sleeping Beauty"? Look for the mood-filled, spinning wheel-laden spectacle to go en pointe in Redondo Beach starting on Feb. 21. The Valley Performing Arts Center, Glendale's The Alex, and Royce Hall will follow on select dates into late March.
Princess power in the air, both in cinemas and in young adult novels and television, too. Add to that a very classic ballet, with symbols and pockets of meaning, a work that fairytale fans will both recognize and find fresh, in terms of the telling.