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              Christine Nesbitt Hills

www.christinenesbitt.com

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Sleeping Beauty

The Cape Town City Ballet performed 'Sleeping Beauty' with the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra in the Guy Butler Theatre at the 1820 Settler's Monument during the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa on Saturday July 2, 2005.

The Story of the Ballet:

Prologue:
The king anxiously waits for the birth of his first child. At last the infant arrives. The king calls for a grand christening celebration to which all the fairies of the kingdom are invited to bestow their gifts of beauty, grace, generosity, song and temperament. They are interrupted by the arrival of Carabosse, she is enrage and insulted that the king forgot to invite her to the cermony. Carabosse announces her curse that Aurora will one day prick her finger and die. Luckily the Lilac Fairy has yet to give her present. She declares that although Aurora will prick her finger she will not die. Instead she will fall into a deep sleep from which she will be awoken after a hundred years by the kiss of a prince.

Entr'acte:
Carabosse and her entourage prepare the poisoned needle and hide it in a bouquet of flowers for Aurora.

Act One:
It is Aurora's 18th birthday. The palace gardens are decorated and the celebrations begin. Aurora receives four suitors who honour her with gifts of roses. During the festivities Aurora clutches Carabosse's flowers, pricks her finger and faints away. Carabosse reveals herself in triumph and vanishes. The Lilac Fairy returns to fulfil her promise. Aurora is carried inside the palace where she and the court will sleep until the arrival of the prince.

Act Two:
One hundred years later, Prince Florimund is out hunting with some companions. There in the forest he sees a vision of the most beautiful woman he has ever imagined; it is Aurora. Florimund dances with Aurora and falls instantly in love. When the vision dissapears Florimund pleads with the Lilac Fairy to take him to Aurora. Florimund discovers the overgrown castle, but first must to battle with Carabosse, who would prevent him from entering. Once inside the castle Florimund finds Aurora and awakens her with a kiss. Florimund declares his love for Aurora and the king and queen give their blessing for their marriage.

Act Three:
The palace must be prepared for the wedding. The dust of the ages must be cleaned and a wedding dress must be made for Aurora. The Fairies return for the celebration along with the fairy tale characters of the Bluebird and Princess Florine, Puss in Boots and the White Cat. Everyone joins in a dance of celebration. Finally Florimund and Aurora are married and receive the blessing of the Lilac Fairy.

About the Cape Town City Ballet:
The Cape Town City Ballet has a long and illustrius history, starting with the establishment of Dulcie Howes' UCT Ballet Company in 1934. This company consisted of students of the UCT Ballet School dancing in the corps de ballet, with staff members and professional dancers performing the leading roles. The establishment of the four Performing Arts Councils in South Africa and their attendant companies led to the 60-strong CAPAB Ballet under the direction of David Poole. An era of plenty was born and large-scale lavish productions were mounted with occasional tours to venues such as the Settler's Monument Theatre in Grahamstown, The Civic Theatre in Johannesburg and the Port ELizabeth Opera House.

In 1994 notice was given that all funding from central government would cease and that performing companies should become independent of their parent bodies. The CAPAB Ballet consequently became a non-profit organisation and is now known as the Cape Town City Ballet, administered by a board of directors under the chairmanship of Prof. Elizabeth Triegaardt, also director of the UCT School of Dance. The outreach programmes presented by this vibrant innovative company in formerly disadvantaged communitites reaches thousands of potential new dancers.Creating magic from main productions at Artscape (formerly the Nico Malan theatre) to more humble venues in the communitities, it has 'jet�d' into the new century - and into the hearts of the people. The evergreen classical ballets still have their regular and popular seasons, but trendy neo-classical works are equally sought after. The Cape Town City Ballet has much to celebrate as it turns 71 in 2005.


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