Global , London Stories from Abroad | Feb 20, 2013 | Nicole Gesualdo
‘Sleeping Beauty’ awakens students to the wonders of London
England is known for being home to some of the most influential playwrights and musicians of all time. As an avid theatergoer and aspiring actress myself, how could I not take a course on the culture of British theater at the Fordham London Centre?
Even after just one session of the class, taught by the extremely accomplished Richard Digby Day, I knew it was going to be an incredible experience.
On our first night of class, we went to Sadler’s Wells Theatre to watch a contemporary take on the classic ballet The Sleeping Beauty. The original story of The Sleeping Beauty was written by Charles Perrault in early-18th-century France. During the late 19th century, famous composer Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky and choreographer Marius Petipa transformed the fairy tale into one of the most widely performed ballets of all time.
Being only vaguely familiar with the original story, I was unsure of what to expect from a more modern interpretation, but looking forward to it nonetheless.
The Sleeping Beauty tells the tale of Aurora, a princess who, cursed by an evil fairy, is doomed to prick her finger on a poisoned spindle and fall asleep for 100 years. The tale focuses on the quest of her lover, a lowly gardener, who combines forces with the leader of the good fairies to break the curse and awaken her. The two must face and defeat the son of the evil fairy as he attempts to take Aurora for himself.
The performance we saw in London was done to the original music by a dance company called Adventures in Motion Pictures, choreographed by Matthew Bourne. Despite having no dialogue, the performers were able to beautifully convey the fairy tale to the audience. Because of the bold costume and lighting choices, the intricate scenery and the skilled performers, the ballet was a gripping interpretation from beginning to end.
Having only been in London for a very short time, I thought that attending this show was a fantastic way to get to bond with my classmates and professors alike. It also was an example of what amazing experiences are to come throughout the semester in this, and all my classes, at the Fordham London Centre.