Sleeping Beauty

Premiere- 1890
Original choreography- Petipa

Music- Tchaikovsky
staging and additional choreography by Liane Fisher

This Spring in Tolland we are performing excerpts from Sleeping Beauty.  Sleeping Beauty is a ballet in 4 acts which typically runs for three hours.  Our scaled down version is 30 minutes.     


The King and Queen have been blessed with the birth of a baby princess.  All the kingdom are invited to the Christening.  The fairies bestow magical gifts upon the new princess.  The Fairy of the Crystal Fountain bestows Truth and Sincerity.   The Fairy of the Enchanted Forest gives her Beauty.  The Woodland Glade Fairy gives the princess Generosity, Fertility and good Fortune.  The Songbird Fairy gives her the gift of Song.  The Fairy of the Briar Rose gives her Strength, Valour, Courage, and Power. And the Lilac Fairy gives her Wisdom.  Unfortunately, one fairy was inadvertently left of the guest list- Carabosse (AKA Maleficent in the Disney version of the story).  Carabosse arrives and announces that she too has a gift for the baby.   But to everyone’s horror, instead of blessing the baby, she curses her that she will prick her finger and die on her 16th birthday.   The Lilac Fairy intervenes.  She cannot undo the curse, but she alters it so that the princess will only fall into an enchanted sleep from which she will be awakened a hundred years later by the kiss of a prince.

Act 1

Years pass and it is Princess Aurora’s  birthday.  The villagers gather and dance decorating the palace with bowers of flowers.  The guests arrive.   Amid the celebrations, a strange old woman (Carabosse in disguise) arrives and gives Aurora a curious object.  Aurora has never seen one before.   It is a spindle, which has been banned from the kingdom.  Not knowing what it is, she dances with it and unwittingly pricks her finger.  At first she seems alright and continues to dance, but it is apparent that she is feeling unwell.  Suddenly she drops to the floor lifeless.  The Lilac Fairy appears and  puts the entire palace to sleep.

Act 2

A hundred years pass and a Prince is riding through the forest when he comes upon the fairies in the forest outside of the castle.  They tell him about the enchanted princess and lead him to the castle.  When he arrives he finds it overgrown with vines and the fairies pull back the vines.  He sees everyone asleep and kisses the princess, breaking the curse and waking Princess Aurora and the rest of the palace. 

Act 3

The Prince and Princess are married in a royal wedding presided over by the Lilac Fairy and they live happily ever after.

Did you know??

The story of Sleeping Beauty did not originate with Disney.   Actually it is a very old fairy tale with roots going back 1000 years or more- in Greek mythology in the 2nd century AD and in the 10th century in the 1001 Nights. In 1634, another version was published by Giambattista Basile in a book called called The Tale of Tales, which was again re-written by Charles Perrault in1697 when he wrote Mother Goose Tales.  Another version was published by the Brothers Grimm in the 19th century.   The ballet, choreographed by Marius Petipa, premiered in Russia in 1890 and was based on the Charles Perrault version.   The Disney animated feature was released in 1959 and combined the Perrault and Grimm versions and used music from the ballet written by Tchaikovsky.

Differences between Disney and the ballet:

  Ballet Disney
Name of the evil fairy: Carabosse Maleficent
Number of fairies:63
Names of the fairies: Fairy of the Crystal FountainFauna
Fairy of the Enchanted Forest (or Garden)Flora
Fairy of the Woodland GladeMerryweather
Songbird Fairy (Canary) 
Fairy of the Briar Rose (or Golden Vine) 
Lilac Fairy 
Her childhood:Aurora lives in the castle with her parents Aurora lives with fairies in the forest