American Ballet Theatre's latest production of The Sleeping Beauty premiered last night at the Segerstrom Center in California. And you know what that means: The company's dancers are currently flooding Instagram and Twitter with tantalizing behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Which is the best.
This new Beauty is especially interesting because it's actually...old. Choreographer Alexei Ratmansky reconstructed it from dance notation recorded more than 100 years ago, making it about as close to the original Petipa choreography as you can get. And though ballet companies around the world have been performing Beauties "after Petipa" for generations, this super-authentic production looks remarkably different from the SB ballet nerds know and love. Legs and lifts are lower; the overall feel is more genteel.
For example—to get reeeeal nerdy for a minute—look at 1:47–2:07 in this video of Marianela Nuñez and Thiago Soares dancing the Act III pas de deux with The Royal Ballet. Legs galore! But in the ABT production, as this clip from principal Isabella Boylston's Insta shows us, that moment has a totally different feel:
So elegant and refined, right? It's almost disorienting for those of us accustomed to the "higher is better" school of thought.
The new Beauty's costumes also have a vintage-y feel. They're inspired by the designs of Leon Bakst, the artist who famously costumed many productions for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in the early 20th century. Tutus are longer, headpieces are more extreme, colors are brighter and bolder: