Ballet Idaho produces a stunning “Sleeping Beauty”

Elizabeth Barreto and Andrew Taft in Ballet Idaho’s “The Sleeping Beauty.”
Elizabeth Barreto and Andrew Taft in Ballet Idaho’s “The Sleeping Beauty.”

Ballet Idaho Artistic Director Peter Anastos staging of “The Sleeping Beauty” from 2011 with both broad stokes and deft attention to detail.

The work, the coaching, the choreography and performance capability all came together.

Gorgeous sets and costumes borrowed from Salt Lake City’s Ballet West filled the Morrison Center stage on opening night Friday, April 8, creating the perfect backdrop for his storybook wonder.

The company rose to the occasion with grand performances by many, but the crown jewel position was held by a glittering Elizabeth Barreto as Aurora.

Not yet a principle, Barreto definitely is a princess in pointe shoes. She was delightfully effervescent as the young Aurora in the first act, poised and elegant as the awakened princess in the second.

Barreto handled the difficult choreography by Anastos, after Marius Petipa’s original from 1890, with elegance and ease, creating a beautifully nuanced performance. She nailed each of her most challenging parts from the Rose Adagio – in which she dances with four different partners – to the Grand Pas de Deux with the dynamic Andrew Taft.

Taft always make a great prince, but here especially he danced with assuredness and clean technique in his variations that were filled dynamic leaps. But also his performance as the lonely prince who falls in love with a sleeping princess was heartfelt.

The entire company deserves kudos. The first act fairy variations by Megan Hearn (Beauty), Phyllis Rothwell Affrunti (Joy), Danielle Troyano (Grace) and Elizabeth Keller (Temperament) were spot on with their 126-year-old choreography And Jessica Sulikowski was dazzling and serene as Lilac Fairy.

A special treat was Adrienne Kerr’s commanding, evil Carabosse, who wrangled dozens of Ballet Idaho Academy students as her minions. Talk about owning a role. She truly was fierce.

The second act variations also sparkled: with Madeline Bay, Hearn an Daniel Ojeda as Gold and Silver, a delightful Affrunti and Ethan Schweitzer-Gaslin as Puss in Boots and White Cat, and Keller and Nic Gili as Princess Florine and her Bluebird.

The big bow on top was the Grand Pas de Deux danced by Barreto and Taft. Perfectly matched, they hit every note of the choreography with grace and poise. Together, Barreto and Taft were a dream to watch.

The production sold well, but there are seats left.

Ballet Idaho’s ‘The Sleeping Beauty’

2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 9, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $38-$58. 343-0556, ext. 220;