Aiken Civic Ballet expands repertoire with 'Sleeping Beauty'

CHARMAIN Z. BRACKETT/SPECIAL
Aiken Civic Ballet presents The Sleeping Beauty on March 9, with performances by Claire Berchtold (center) with Stephanie Ling (from left), Julie Wallace, Mary Therese Thomas, Ruth Wilder, Laura Rudnick and Julia Wofford.
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Although she’s had featured roles in the Aiken Civic Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, Claire Berchtold will be performing her toughest role yet as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty.

“I’ve never had a role like this,” said Berchtold, a South Aiken High School junior.

Aurora dances several solo variations plus pas de deux with the prince, danced by Ryan Thomas, who is a student at the University of South Carolina.

The partnering is probably the most difficult for Berchtold because she’s had limited opportunities to learn the techniques, said Diane Miller, Aiken Civic Ballet artistic director. Berchtold has traveled to Columbia to rehearse with Thomas.

Miller said the Aiken Civic Ballet has performed The Nutcracker at Christmas, and this year wanted to expand its production repertoire.

“The girls also wanted to add a fairy tale. We’re excited to be doing one of the classics,” she said.

With music written by Tchaikovsky, The Sleeping Beauty is a three-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa. Petipa and Tchaikovsky collaborated on The Nutcracker although Petipa fell ill before it was completed.

“We are trying to use the original Petipa choreography,” Miller said.

The ballet about the young princess, who sleeps for 100 years before her prince awakes her with a kiss, has other familiar fairy tale characters in it such as Puss in Boots and Little Red Riding Hood.

The ballet will be performed at 7 p.m. March 9 at the University of South Carolina Aiken Etherredge Center, 471 University Park­way. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and students and are available at the Etherredge Center box office or by calling (803) 641-3305.


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