On Saturday evening we put on our finery (well as far as finery goes in provincial New Zealand) and went to the Napier Municipal Theatre to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet's production of The Sleeping Beauty. The tickets were bought last March so we managed to get just about the best seats in the house. The first time I can remember going to the ballet was in 1965 during the Commonwealth Arts Festival (to which I'd been seconded for a few months to help with all the protocol arrangements - some very good stories from that experience). I think it was Swan Lake at the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool. What struck me then was the noise from the shoes on the stage. Oddly now that I've seen ballet many times my mind filters out that noise. It's like recording a mealtime conversation. All the mic picks up (amateur recording of course) is the cutlery clanking on the plates. In real life we hardly hear it because our minds filter it out. It's like that with so much of life don't you think?
Anyway, back to the ballet. The RNZB is a young, fresh and exceptionally talented company of world class standard. They lack the classical finesse of the Bolshoi (hardly surprising) and the flamboyance of the 'American' style but, to my mind, strike a wonderful middle ground. They are certainly very enthusiastic and that comes over to the audience. This production of Sleeping Beauty was three years in the making and the demanding choreography, the soaring Tchaikovsky score and the truly magnificent costumes and the innovative and seamless set design left the audience spellbound.
Obviously photography is forbidden and images of the production seem few and far between but I've taken the liberty of reproducing their advert page from the brochure from which you will see that there is a Facebook page and it has some photos and YouTube references.