Sleeping Beauty at the Joffrey | Live review

May 25, 2011
TimeOut Chicago Kids
Joanna Batt

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Last Saturday, the Joffrey Ballet teamed up with Aleksandra Efimova, author of The Sleeping Beauty Ballet by Aleksandra, for a book signing tea and an all-ages production of the famous ballet.

It had the requisite sparkly costumes and a cast that ranged from ages 4 or 5 to full-grown ballerinas, Aurora and the Lilac Fairy among the best of them. To help the audience—mostly moms and their daughters—absorb the storyline, the text and illustrations of Efimova's picture book were projected over the Black Box stage as Tchaikovsky's score trilled and boomed in the background.

Guest appearances included Little Red Riding Hood, a trove of fairies and the cutest little flock of sheep you've ever seen, courtesy of the Joffrey's youngest members. The dance effused sweetness and magic from the start, but I have to say—the scene was stolen not by those onstage, but by the little Aurora's in the audience, decked out to their tutu-ed nines and pantomiming the dancers with their moms, dads, and older sisters. Even the little boy sitting next to me in black Star Wars sneakers (not exactly your typical ballet fan) kept asking when the second act would start, because he really loved "the magic bits."

Post show, the author signed more than 65 copies of her book and the ballet's younger fans made ballerina-themed crafts, snacked and practiced their twirls and whirls. There wasn't one of us (adults included) who didn't want to be Princess Aurora once the ballet ended.