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That’s A Wrap! What’s Up? Re-cap: Ballet Theatre of Maryland’s Production of Sleeping Beauty

Feb 25, 2016 04:00PM ● By Melissa Lauren

Photo Credit: Nick Eckert

By Melissa Lauren

When an enchanted kingdom and the fairest princess in the land fall prey to the ultimate mistress of evil, the fate of all rests in the hands of a small band of fairies and the courage of a young prince. Ballet Theatre of Maryland recently closed their production of Sleeping Beauty at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Although the company performs frequently at the venue as its home base, Ballet Theatre of Maryland performs all over the region as Maryland’s premier professional ballet company.

Sleeping Beauty is a ballet first performed in 1890 with music composed by Tchaikovsky and original choreography by Marius Petipa. The original choreography was performed for only two pieces in this production. Artistic Director Dianna Cuatto is celebrating her 13th season with Ballet Theatre of Maryland. Cuatto began her career as a professional ballerina with Ballet West in 1963 where she was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1966. She is the 2011 recipient of the Anne Arundel Arts Council’s “Annie Award” honoring her lasting, significant, and inspiring contribution to the Performing Arts. Cuatto is also the first woman choreographer accepted into the National League of American Pen Women.

The choreography was brilliant and dynamic with multi-faceted moves that clearly illustrated plot points and aspects of character. Audience members were wowed by the high caliber performances delivered by the professional principal dancers of BTM’s company. Not only do these dancers get height, they dance while emoting from toe to fingertip. I have seen a ballet or two in my day and was truly impressed by the level of commitment to character portrayed by all of the dancers. It is oftentimes the case that a ballet can be beautifully executed and on point with technique but the dancers lack emotion and character is lost. This is a challenging feat considering facial expression and movement through dance with absolutely no speaking is the only way to convey character through the art of ballet.

Principal Dancers Alexander Collen and Diego Sosa were exceptional as well as Lynne Bellinger, Alyssa Johnson-Taylor, and Nicole Kelsch. However, it is hard to play favorites when the entire company shines. The audience thoroughly enjoyed the dragon scene. This red scaly dragon took up easily two-third’s of the stage complete with smoke pouring out of his mouth and nose—the largest puppet I have ever seen in my life! The only note is that the battle scene was a bit too short. But I suspect if anyone were to encounter a dragon in real life, they would feel rushed to slay it.

The set design and costumes were as sophisticated as the dancers’ technique. At the end of the three-hour action-packed performance, the audience was on their feet giving the Ballet Theatre of Maryland a well deserved standing ovation.

Upcoming BTM performances include…

Photo Credit: Nick Eckert

Sleeping Beauty on Saturday, March 19th, 7 p.m. at Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric

What’s Up? Media’s Easter Tea – A Short and Sweet Excerpt as part of the festivities on Saturday, March 26th, 10 a.m., Loews Annapolis Hotel

Alice in Wonderland on Saturday, April 23rd, 7 p.m. at Bowie Center for the Performing Arts

Innovations 2016 (a mix of lyric and modern dancing with classical ballet), Friday, April 15th, 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16th, 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 17th, 2 p.m. at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts

For more information visit