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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Madeline Jazz Guerdat (Sleeping Beauty), left; Matthew Harvey (The Prince), right, Repertory Dance Theatre, CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Madeline Jazz Guerdat (Sleeping Beauty), left; Matthew Harvey (The Prince), right, Repertory Dance Theatre, "Sleeping Beauty," 1:30, 7 p.m. March 2, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1533 Hamilton St., Allentown.

RDT to awaken 'Sleeping Beauty' ballet

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by JENNIFER McKEEVER Special to The Press in Focus

Cascading faeries descend upon the stage in a rainbow of colors to bless the newborn Princess Aurora, also known as "Sleeping Beauty," with gifts of beauty, energy, song and temperance.

The evil faerie, Carabosse, performed by Kathryn Washer, casts an evil spell upon Princess Aurora. When she turns 16, she will prick herself with a spindle and fall dead.

Luckily, the lovely Lilac Faerie, performed by Esther Martinez, with her six attendants, casts a counterspell that she will fall asleep for 100 years.

Repertory Dance Theatre presents the ballet, "Sleeping Beauty," 1:30 and 7 p.m. March 2, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1533 Hamilton St., Allentown.

Says Jennifer Haltzman Tracy, RDT artistic co-director with Trinette Singleton, of the "Sleeping Beauty" ballet, "One beautiful solo after another culminate together in a string of dances to portray the story.

"It's a wonderful family because you spend a lot of time with these students. They become like your children. They are much more mature in their years with a sense of professionalism and work ethic that is exceptional."

The ballet is in three acts beginning with the faeries giving their gifts and spells. The second act is the 16th birthday of Princess Aurora, receiving a gift of a spindle from the disguised Carabosse.

The "Rose Adagio" is a segment with four desperate princes trying to win Princess Aurora's love with a rose. The third act is a celebration and wedding, including dances of the Jewels; the Ruby, Diamond, Emerald and Sapphire.

There's also an appearance of Puss in Boots, the White Cat. And the Bluebirds will follow up with a Grand Pas de Deux.

A cast of 40 dancers perform the drama of the beloved fairy tale fashioned after the choreography of Marius Petipa, the original choreographer of the ballet, with a tweak or two by Haltzman Tracy and Singleton suited well to the music of Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky.

Guests from Carolina Ballet Theatre of Greenville, N.C., RDT alumni Matthew Harvey portrays The Prince with Sleeping Beauty performed by Madeline Jazz Guerdat.

"Guerdat spends time and directs her attention to the young dancers," says Haltzman Tracy.

American Repertory Ballet of Princeton, N.J., dancers, Samantha Fruhwirth, also formerly with RDT, and Jacopo Jannelli, perform the Bluebirds pas de deux in the third act.

Students from The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, as well as guest artists Shannon Dooling and Angeline Wolf, perform after the 7 p.m. performance.

After the 1:30 p.m. matinee, there's the "Sweets Party," where audience members may meet Sleeping Beauty, do arts and crafts, and try a few dance steps.

Ticket information: repertorydance.org, 610-965-6216