Olympic Ballet Theatre
Edmonds Center for the Arts
Edmonds, WA

May 14, 2023, 5:00 p.m.
Sleeping Beauty

Dean Speer

It was perfect. Just perfect. Done to perfection. I found myself, compelled, wanting to shout “TERRRRIFIC!” at the conclusion of the Prologue. Choreography, its execution both fresh and well-rehearsed, moving as one; superb ensemble work; lines in harmony with each other, soloists and principals that were simply outstanding; and excellent costumes, fully realized. These are just a few of the elements that made attending Olympic Ballet Theatre’s rendering of the classical Petipa ballet so satisfying.

Emily Speed and Arcadian Broad (center)
and Olympic Ballet Theatre
in “Sleeping Beauty”
Photo by Into Dust Photography.

Sleeping Beauty is about restoring order to the world after the chaos of Carabosse, having been accidentally left off of the guest list for Princess Aurora’s christening (don’t ever do that) and, being vanquished ultimately, order is back. The entire cast was of one mind for this ballet and were fully present; no one “dialing in” their performance.

Guest artists Arcadian Broad (Prince) and Emily Speed (Aurora) were among the best that I’ve seen, including Fonteyn, Nureyev, and many others. He was clean and had no lack of technical artillery at his command. Speed lived up to her name and gave us phrasing with rubato, delicious triple pirouettes (holding and drawing out the last revolution), controlled balances, and great epaulement, acting, and so much more.

Olympic Ballet Theatre in “Sleeping Beauty”
Photo by Into Dust Photography

Their partnership was also excellent and so well worked out. Nice! Act III pas de deux — superb, elegant and all that it should be. I was happy that Speed came up from her kneeling to the Prince, that she arose, using legato, onto the single pointe, and then making attitude/arabesque, concluding in a balance. Too often, I’ve seen ballerinas pop up from this like toast out of a toaster, and that’s just NOT the right style, but Speed had it. The “fish dives” were exciting and daring, and they held the third and final one, as they should.

Sleeping Beauty is a long ballet (about three hours) and has a lot of choreography in it for dancers to remember and do. At no point did anyone’s energy or focus flag — they were just as fresh in the Act III conclusion as they were at the start.

Ria Adachi and Carlos Narvaez
in Olympic Ballet Theatre’s production
of “Sleeping Beauty”
Photo by Into Dust Photography

Directors Mara Vinson and Oleg Gorboulev have brought up and continue to elevate the level of their studio, one that was already high when they took it over a baker’s dozen years ago.

I found that Olympic Ballet Theatre’s show refreshed and restored order to my artistic soul and spirit, particularly after the tough year that 2022-23 has been. I was looking forward to this event and was not at all disappointed. Thank you!