by Tracey Toh and Chong Yin Min
Singapore Dance Theatre opens its 2015 performance season by revisiting the time-honoured classical fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. Under artistic director Janek Schergen, the familiar tale is transformed into a magical and spectacular ballet piece with the highest standard of techniques.
Accompanied by wonderful, surreal settings and stage effects, as well as pristine and lavish costumes and international professional dancers whose every swift and movement conveyed the true elements of the art of ballet, the choreography by Marius Petipa combines mime with traditional dance movements to delight the audience. Comprising of three Acts, the dancers immaculately expressed the persona of their different characters well and deep in the various parts, of particular note being the Rose Adagio, a complicated sequence performed by Chihiro Uchida (Princess Aurora) in which she dance with four suitors. Principal artist Chen Peng (Prince Florimund) also evoked cries of ‘Bravo!’ from the audience, as he flawlessly executed series of technically demanding leaps across the stage, displaying masculinity and yet gracefulness at the same time.
The soaring score by Tchaikovsky and elaborate staging courtesy of Tracy Grand Lord and Adrian Tan added to the air of grandeur for the entire production, with the profusion of colours throughout the production inspired by the French courts of the 17th and 18th century, and pastel tones and dainty embellishments of the 150 tutus being especially reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s style, giving audience the impression of being back in that period of time.
Although SDT is a young international player with room for development, with impeccable dance moves in synchrony and the occasional light-hearted humour, Sleeping Beauty was a challenging and ambitious feat to pull off, but they managed to do it. It was truly a production of grandeur and gracefulness, and impossible to not leave the audiences with a lasting impression and being enchanted by the production.
(images credits to Nicolethen Studio)