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Boston Ballet

'The Sleeping Beauty'

by Carla DeFord

April 6, 2013 -- Boston Opera House, Boston, MA

I went back to see “The Sleeping Beauty” a second time and found Adiarys Almeida’s performance as Princess Aurora to be a revelation. She was completely different from Misa Kuranaga, the other Aurora I saw, but with a wonderfully individual take on the role. Her athletic strengths are speed, balance, and buoyancy, which she consistently puts at the service of expressiveness. Her spins were breathtaking, her jumps had height and bounce, and her balances were perfect beyond words. In the first set of balances in the Rose Adagio she managed to greet every one of the four suitors with a smile and the tiniest inclination of her head while remaining suspended on one toe in rock-solid position. The first two balances were amazing enough, but then she held the third one twice as long, and finally swept into the fourth with arms raised in jubilation. Stupendous.

Of course, athleticism only takes one so far; it was Almeida’s ability to connect with the audience that truly made this performance indelible. Her joy in the Act I birthday celebration was infectious. Her sorrow and longing in the Act II vision scene brought me to tears. Her triumph of spirit in the Act II wedding scene seemed not only believable but well earned.

Her prince, although a very good dancer and an excellent partner, left much to be desired (pun intended) as an actor. Almeida brought all the emotional firepower to the team. The situation reminded me of the advice Gelsey Kirkland gave to the young Trinidad Sevillano while coaching the latter in “Giselle” (as described in “The Shape of Love”): “We have to believe in your love for [the prince] no matter what. Even if you don’t feel him loving you back, you just keep on giving him your heart.” Almeida did – and it was unforgettable. I haven’t been this excited about a Boston Ballet ballerina (always excepting Larissa Ponomarenko) in years. Bravissima!

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