By JENNIFER K. BAUER
PULLMAN — In “The Sleeping Beauty” a princess falls asleep for 100 years before being awakened by a kiss.
Tchaikovsky’s ballet based on the fairy tale has enchanted audiences for longer than that.
The mystique of ballet lends itself to fantastical tales. With fairies in tutus and tiaras, “The Sleeping Beauty” has withstood the test of time to become a classic.
“As far as being a family-friendly ballet, it’s right up there with ‘The Nutcracker,’ ” said Toni Pimble, artistic director of the Eugene Ballet Company, which will present the ballet Sunday in Pullman as part of the Festival Dance Great Performances Series 2015-16.
Tchaikovsky wrote of the score, “It seems to me that the music for this ballet will be one of my best works. The subject is poetic, so well suited to musical treatment that I was quite carried away while composing it.” The ballet was first presented at the Mayinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Jan. 15, 1890.
“The Sleeping Beauty” is one of the three big classical ballets written by Tchaikovsky, Pimble said. The others are “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker,” all written in the late 1800s when classical ballet dominated the stage.
Twenty-three professional dancers and more than 100 costumes will help bring the oft-told tale to life.
The ballet opens with the christening party where an evil fairy named Carabosse casts a spell dooming Princess Aurora to death at age 16 when she will prick her finger on a spindle. The Lilac Fairy alters the spell so that Aurora will instead sleep for 100 years and be awakened by a prince’s kiss.
Yoshie Oshima dances the lead role of Aurora. A native of Japan, Oshima graduated from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg and has danced professionally with the USA Ballet Company. She is a longtime principal dancer for the company.
In act three, the prince sees Aurora in a vision before the Lilac Fairy brings him to the castle. The prince is danced by Hirofumi Kitazume, who graduated from the Central School of Ballet in London. In 2012 he came to the U.S. to join Atlantic City Ballet and Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida. This is his first season with the Eugene Ballet. Pimble called him a wonderful addition.
“He’s very unusually lyrical for a male,” she said.
A grand wedding ceremony concludes the two-hour performance that features enchanted creatures, like Puss in Boots, from other fairy tales. Much of the choreography is based on the original version, Pimble said. A dozen dancers from Festival Dance will appear in the production.
In addition to the full-length public performance, the company will present a shortened version for some area third and fourth grade students Monday.
If you go
What: “The Sleeping Beauty”
When: 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Beasley Coliseum, Washington State University, Pullman
Cost: Tickets $14-$30, available through TicketsWest outlets, (800) 325-SEAT and Beasley Coliseum ticket office. Discounted tickets for children, students and groups of 10 or more are available through the Festival Dance office by calling (208) 883-3267.