The Sleeping Beauty.
The Sleeping Beauty
Bel Air Classiques. 138 minutes. $29.99.
It had been two months of headlines: David Hallberg was the first American to be invited to join the Bolshoi Ballet as a premier danseur. In November 2011, he made his company debut as Prince Desire on the newly reopened mainstage of the Bolshoi Theatre. The following evening, he reprised the role for a worldwide audience in an international simulcast, now available on DVD. And, in his first diagonal of soaring jetes, he knew something was wrong with his ankle.
Even without taking this behind-the-scenes drama into consideration, the audience is treated to an impressive performance. As expected from the Bolshoi, it's a sumptuous production--a staggering number of corps dancers, sets and costumes embellished in extreme detail. Svetlana Zakharova, the reigning queen of sky-high extensions and willowy glamour, is cast against type as Princess Aurora. Sweet and shy she is not. However, Hallberg's steady hands allow her to warm up--to both him and the role. In their first meeting, when the Lilac Fairy (Maria Allash) shows Desire a vision of Aurora, Zakharova displays a newfound tenderness. Hallberg, without any signs of injury, actually reaches new heights with the explosive nature of his jumps (call it the Bolshoi Effect). It's an exciting development for a dancer with such pristine line and poetic elegance. The playful, assured charisma of Nina Kaptsova as Princess Florine is another performance to treasure.--K. P.