Preview: Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Preview: Birmingham Royal Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

The Sleeping Beauty, which has been delighting audiences for well over a hundred years, sprinkling ballet magic on this favourite childhood story and its cast of familiar characters, comes to Mayflower Theatre from Thursday 8 to Saturday 10 February.

Cursed by a wicked fairy, a beautiful princess pricks her finger and falls into a deep sleep that can only be broken by a kiss from a prince, all wrapped up with sparkling virtuoso dance from Birmingham Royal Ballet’s brilliant dancers, fairy-tale characters, dazzling spectacle, and Tchaikovsky’s glorious music played live by the acclaimed Royal Ballet Sinfonia.

Ballet superstar Dame Darcey Bussell DBE is sharing some of her knowledge with Birmingham Royal Ballet dancers as they prepare to tour Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Sir Peter’s production is a classic of ballet, hugely popular with dancers and audiences, but it asks a lot of its performers.

“Sleeping Beauty is the ballet in which everything comes together,” Darcey says. “It’s the most extraordinary score and the choreography really challenges every generation that comes to it. It also uses the skills of the entire company so for any big classical company it really highlights their talents.

“And with Sir Peter Wright’s Sleeping Beauty, the sets and the design are so beautiful it really is spectacular from the moment the curtain goes up. It has such energy that there’s never a dull moment. All the characters are incredibly strong and they all have a part to play and I think Sir Peter keeps that story thread from the beginning to the very end.”

Whether audiences are returning to a ballet favourite in Sleeping Beauty or experiencing it for the first time, Darcey, whose dancing knowledge was also shared with the public during her time as a Strictly Come Dancing judge, says she hopes they all feel its magic.

“I think going to see a ballet like Sleeping Beauty is inspiration, it makes you think differently and it makes you awaken your senses to something totally brand new,” she says. “Even for me, being in this world for so long, I’m always taken back by the extraordinary magic it gives, from the music to the design, to the artist on the stage giving a hundred per cent.

“It is so uplifting, so motivating and so unique. We’ve got to keep opening our eyes to new things and dance really does inspire that.”

Tickets for Birmingham Royal Ballet: Sleeping Beauty (Thursday 8 – Saturday 10 February 2024) are on sale at or 02380 711811.

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