The Alabama Ballet's Sleeping Beauty

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"This would be the most classical, therefore the most challenging," said the artistic director of Alabama Ballet, which is staging Marius Petipa's choreographic masterpiece for the third time since 2002. "Then, probably 'Giselle,' then 'Swan Lake,' then 'The Nutcracker,' then 'Romeo and Juliet.'"

What makes it so? Not only the required execution of the required rigorous techniques, all of which take years of practice, but the dramatic projection of a timeless storyline.

Based on the 1697 fairy tale by Charles Perrault, the story has been told at bedtime, made into a  Disney movie, even subjected to Freudian analysis. The young princess, Aurora, has an evil spell cast on her by the evil fairy Carabosse, falls asleep at her 16th birthday party, naps for 100 years, and is awaked by a kiss from a Prince Désiré, who finds her while on a hunting expedition.

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