The Renaissance Academy will present what is, arguably, its most ambitious work to date: the ballet Sleeping Beauty, based on the classic fairy tale with music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
Trimmed to two hours from the original four, the ballet has a cast of 62 elementary, middle and high school students, plus eight faculty members. It was directed and choreographed by dance and humanities teacher Florence Geise, who has danced with the Radio City Music Hall Ballet, Baltimore Ballet, Houston Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet.
The three-act ballet starts at the christening of the baby Princess Aurora before the royal court. The fairies arrive to present her with beautiful gifts — except for the evil Carabosse (role shared by Kristy Szulis and Shelly Partridge), who places a deadly curse on her head.
The Lilac Fairy (Anisa Arcos) mitigates the curse by saying Aurora won't die at age 16; instead, she and her court will go to sleep for 100 years, after which she'll be awakened by a prince.
In Act 2, Aurora (role shared by Szulis and Partridge) accidentally pricks her finger during her 16th birthday celebration and falls asleep. A century passes, and Prince Florimund (Anthony Markham) arrives and awakens Aurora and her court.
The prince and princess are wed in Act 3, after which they are entertained by the Jewels, Puss-in-Boots (William Dugan), the White Cat (Madelaine McCarthy), Little Red Riding Hood (Tabitha Pitre), the Wolf (Zachary Gasparini), the Bluebird Princess (Delanna Limbawan) and others.
"The leads have been in rehearsal since the start of the school year," said Janine Caffrey, the head of the school who has a doctorate in education. The supporting roles and chorus have been in rehearsal since early January, she said.
Renaissance Academy opened in August 2003 and encourages participation in the fine and performing arts.
The scores of costumes were created by Nancy Bevilacqua and Lauren Shea. The scenery was made by Tech Theatre under the direction of drama, theater and math instructor Brad Brady.