MDS’s production of Sleeping Beauty encapsulates the fabulous beauty of the traditional period ballet but will surprise and delight as they weave jazz, hip-hop, tap, and ballroom into the story line with equal ingenuity and theatrics. From tap dancing paiges in rich King Louie style costumes to the frightening hip hop henchmen serving their en pointe dark Maleficent. Says 17 year MDS director, Maria Merriam, “we used much of the story synopsis of the traditional ballet version rather than the Disney re-make. This gave our students an opportunity to learn some of the historical classical variations (choreography) and mimes. Side by side Tchaikovskys original score, audiences will get a seamless transition to jazzed up baroque or an electronic Pachelbel Canon in D for example to include all the dance genres.” To help audiences who may only be familiar with the movie version of Sleeping Beauty, MDS chose to use more familiar names (ie Prince Phillip instead of Prince Florimund or Maleficent in lieu of Carabosse). There will also be strategic narration within the soundtrack to guide the audience through this enchanting story.
“It is my intent,” says director, Merriam, “To exceed anything we’ve ever brought to the stage before. Our dancers are being challenged technically and theatrically on a new level. To showcase what MDS students are bringing before the community scenery and costuming is also being developed to a new shimmering level. Thanks to both financial and talented supporters of MDS an additional new drop is being custom painted. Elaborate custom costumes, and scores of accessories are being hand created for a rich period production.
MDS students will be visiting Ocean Crest Elementary school May 16th for an educational outreach. Bandon children will get an opportunity to see highlights of the upcoming show, learn some mimes, and have an opportunity Q&A session with the dancers.
Once Upon a Time in a kingdom faraway a princess was born. The King and Queen named her Aurora. At the baby’s christening, they invited many fair guests including six fairies who would bestow gifts upon the fair baby. An uninvited guest arrives, the evil fairy, Maleficent. “Why was I not invited” she screeches. She then curses Aurora to die on her 16th birthday by pricking her finger on something sharp and die. The Lilac fairy cannot not undue the curse, but she can soften it. “She will not die” she gently says, “but she will sleep until the she is kissed by a prince.
At Auroras 16th birthday party, Maleficent returns disguised as an old woman with a treacherous gift of flowers enclosing a needle. Aurora, delighted with the flowers dances until she pricks her finger collapsing into a sleep. The Lilac fairy places an enchantment on all in the castle to join in this sleep.
100 years later, Prince Phillip finds himself out in the forest with his friends. He joins in the dancing only not to offend his friends. He is bored and dismisses them to continue their games. Alone, the Lilac Fairy surprises him, “Why are you so unhappy?”. “I don’t know”, he answers. The prince raises his downcast eyes to a shimmering vision of Aurora, light as a cloud. As he tries to reach her, fairies surround her. Only for a moment does he hold her before she is gone in an instant. Prince Phillip begs the Lilac Fairy to return her. She directs him on a journey to a castle hidden and forgotten in a tangle of briars. Maleficent and her henchmen try once more to prevent the undoing of the curse, but Phillip is strong and true of heart and defeats these villains. Finding Aurora asleep he kisses her breaking the 100 year spell. As all the court awakens from their sleep as Aurora and Phillip declare their love for one another they all join in a wedding celebration.
Photography by Annetta Adams