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"Sleeping Beauty Dreams" with Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes at The Beacon Theatre
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"Sleeping Beauty Dreams" with Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes at The Beacon Theatre

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Sleeping Beauty Dreams

Diana Vishneva as Princess Aurora
Marcelo Gomes as The Prince

Dancer, Mi Deng
An ensemble of Good & Evil Spirits, Lovers, & Fans

Director, Original Idea: Rem Hass
Choreography: Edward Clug
Music: NOISIA, Thijs De Vlieger
Costumes: Bart Hess
Virtual Characters / Art: Tobias Gremmler
Digital Avatar Technology: fuse*
Production Management & Design: Nick Assunto
Lighting Design & Programming:
Luis Pastor
Light Art: Laurent
Technology Partners: Perception Neuron/

The Beacon Theatre
(Beacon Website)

Press: Jonathan Marder & Company

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
December 14, 2018

This multimedia, multi genre, surreal, balletic tour de force was quite a sight to behold. New York’s illustrious, retired ballerina, Diana Vishneva, returned for a few performances at The Beacon Theatre, and she brought our beloved Marcelo Gomes, who no longer dances with Ballet Theatre. Mr. Gomes was Ms. Vishneva’s preferred principal partner for years of story ballets, and, together, they always created magic onstage. Tonight was not only no exception to their visionary magic, but the multimedia, digital wizardry of this high tech production was astounding and breathtaking. I would love to see this again, soon, but only with this magnetic partnership. The chemistry of this renowned duo is so seasoned, that the digital sensors inserted on Ms. Vishneva’s and Mr. Gomes’ costumes are catalysts for stunning, abstract imagery. That imagery immediately appears as the duo gestures and moves, together and separately. Fantasy shapes and figures intersect, merge, blend, and separate again.

High tech digital imagery is a new concept for the ballet community, and I assume many in tonight’s audience were left confused, as neither the score nor the staging or plot were traditionally connected to Sleeping Beauty, the ballet. Analyzing the program notes, Sleeping Beauty Dreams, tonight’s event, is the story of Aurora’s century of dreams, as the kingdom slept, awaiting Prince Désiré’s arrival and the awakening kiss on Aurora’s cheek, that would restore the 16 year-old princess and her kingdom to every day normalcy, in the moment. Of course, traditionally, the big wedding scene would follow, with guests, such as Red Riding Hood, the Wolf, Cinderella, and her own Prince Charming. Rem Hass has conceived this idea and directs the production, and Edward Clug choreographs the ballet. The new music is by Thijs De Vlieger [NOISIA]. The art and virtual characters are by Tobias Gremmler, with digital avatar technology by fuse*, lighting by Luis Pastor, costumes by Bart Hess, and light art by Laurent. See heading above for further production partners.

A vivid electronic pulse ensues, and Mi Deng, dancer, along with a male ensemble of ten, are all wearing the motion sensors that create the “in moment” avatar figures and their dance. These shapes enlarge, diminish, change texture, shading, and tone. There was no way to take notes in the darkened theater, while focusing on a vision one is likely to never see again, as no two performances could possibly be precisely matched. There is a sense of regal grandeur about this ballet, in spite of its fantasy sound and imagery, with hints of jewels, silk, satin, and largesse, although that was my personal takeaway. I recall digital bubbles, as well as the ensemble in ghostly dimness, long limbs that resembled flowing white smoke. Disney’s “Fantasia” vividly came to mind. The backdrop screen at The Beacon is enormous, so the fantasy art plays simultaneously and sequentially with Ms. Vishneva and Mr. Gomes. I do recall Ms. Vishneva seeming to have alternate costumes, but these costumes did not neatly connect to a shifting narrative or time.

The driven, electronic sound at times was extremely over the top, propulsively more than any balletic event should generate. Yet, choreographically, Ms. Vishneva was dancing in traditional ballet figures and line, not necessarily en pointe, and the experience was enthralling. Most memorable, in addition to catching sight of this beloved and renowned ballet partnership, was the fantasy dissolving of background imagery, in color or chiaroscuro, leaves, snow, rain, musical notes, confetti, tears, bubbles, foam, fizz, whatever, it was all mesmerizing. Kudos to the production team, and kudos to Ms. Vishneva and Mr. Gomes. Check your local ballet listings, as I am sure this show will go on tour.