Scottish company embrace new web technology for fans

Scottish Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty
Scottish Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty
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NEW technology is ever changing. Keeping up can be a challenge. Scottish Ballet, however, are making sure they aren’t caught napping as their popular production of The Sleeping Beauty tours to the Festival Theatre.

This afternoon, ballet fans who log on to www.scottishballet.co.uk will be able to watch a special backstage broadcast as the dancers warm up, apply their make up and prepare to take to the stage for today’s matinee performance.

And don’t worry if you’re reading this in the evening. You haven’t missed out. The behind-the-scenes webcast will be available to watch again on the website.

The Sleeping Beauty is the third of Scottish Ballet’s ‘fairytale trilogy’ conceived by the company’s artistic director Ashley Page and designer Antony McDonald. The other two being The Nutcracker in 2003 and Cinderella in 2005.

Like those pieces, The Sleeping Beauty is re-imagined to make it relevant to a modern audience, complete with unexpected twists, devilish wit and stunning visuals.

Described as a decadent masterpiece, the ballet tells the story of Princess Aurora, who is born into an enchanted world where mortal members of Europe’s sovereign court mingle with the celestial beings of the forest.

At Aurora’s christening, each of the kingdom’s fairies gift the child a number of virtues including truth, grace, beauty, intelligence and kindness.

A jealous fairy, fallen from grace watches on, enraged that she was not invited to join the celebrations, and casts the ultimate curse, that Aurora will, on her 16th birthday, prick her finger and die. Countering the spell, the Lilac Fairy declares that a profound slumber for 100 years can save the innocent child, until she is woken by the kiss of her true love.

Featuring sections of the original choreography by Marius Petipa, Scottish Ballet’s version unfolds over a period of one hundred years, show-casing a spectrum of fashions, from the simple elegance of 1830s Regency style and the opulent glamour of neo-gothic Victorian dress, through to the Dior New Look styled silhouette of 1940s post-war Europe.

Stunning sets create worlds of magic and mystery, and as Aurora awakes from her century long slumber, we discover the year is 1946 - the year that Sadler’s Wells Ballet, now known as the Royal Ballet, danced The Sleeping Beauty for the first time in the re-established Royal Opera House with Margot Fonteyn in the lead role.

At the Festival Theatre this week, the dancers of Scottish Ballet will be accompanied by the full Scottish Ballet Orchestra, who will perform Tchaikovsky’s soaring and passionate score, the music which inspired Page to retell the story.

“Part of the reason for re-conceiving the ballet is to listen to the music with fresh ears and illuminate things that I think, perhaps, haven’t been illuminated before,” he explains.

“This can be anything from subtle little details of the rhythmic structure happening underneath the melody to larger-scale links and references.”

Scottish Ballet: the Sleeping Beauty, Festival Theatre, Nicolson Street, until Saturday, 7.30pm (Saturday matinee 2pm), £10-£37.50, 0131-529 6000