Ballet dancers from the Nelson Academy of Dance put the final touches on their Sleeping Beauty performance. Kate Russell.

Sleeping Beauty awakens at Theatre Royal


An ageless story of love and magic is set to light up the Theatre Royal stage this week.

Nelson Academy of Dance is performing Sleeping Beauty – the Ballet, for four shows only, starting on Thursday, 23 August.

It will be director Gillian Francis’ third time staging the classic fairy-tale since opening her academy in 1977.

“The last time we did it was in 2004 – that was before the Theatre Royal was renovated,” she says.

Sleeping Beauty was first presented at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg in 1890 and remains one of the best examples of narrative ballet theatre.

Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, it tells the story of Princess Aurora who falls prey to the spell of an evil fairy, which only a kiss from a handsome prince will break.

There will be 100 dance student and actors in this authentic, full-length ballet, ranging in age from five to 60-years-old.

Gillian’s dance students will be the featured performers, alongside American dancer, Jordan Nelson.

Jordan has been a professional ballet dancer with Columbia City Ballet, Madison Ballet, Elements Contemporary Ballet, and Ballet Chicago.

Gillian says she started planning for the show back in January.

“We have made some stunning costumes, especially for the show. Some of the mothers have been sewing for weeks.”

Sleeping Beauty is just over two hours long, with three intervals.

“People can also expect to see some beautiful choreography, costuming, backdrops, lighting and sound. It’s an all-round show for everyone.”

Sleeping Beauty is on at Theatre Royal from August 23 to 25 at 7pm with a matinee performance on August 25 at 1.30pm. Tickets are available from TicketDirect or the Theatre Royal.