FROM the moment the curtains rise, The Sleeping Beauty is captivating.
Majestic sets invite the audience into the extravagant lifestyle of Princess Aurora's family while enchanting Tchaikovsky scores dazzle and delight.
At Aurora's christening, fairies entertain the king, queen and other royalty with sassy performances - enthralling in both solo and as a group.
The five lavish fairy costumes are the stuff of every little - and big - girl's dream.
With a twinkle in their eyes, Queensland Ballet dancers Teri Crilly and Eleanor Freeman bring cheeky and childish glee to the stage as the yellow and green fairies.
They are among the queen's half-sisters, giving the gift of song and wit to Aurora in their role as godmothers.
A dark cloud falls over the celebration when black fairy Carabosse (Clare Morehen) arrives, furious her invite was lost in the mail.
With a perfect combination of devilish mischief-maker and scorn, she casts an evil curse that Aurora will die on her 16th birthday when she pricks her finger.
But fairy Wisdom weaves a spell that means Aurora will not die - rather fall into a deep sleep for 100 years until the kiss of a handsome prince wakes her up.
The king's trusted advisor Catalabutte - whose oft comedic character is actually a cat in a fun twist on the original role - banishes all sharp objects from the palace, including all thorns from roses.
But Aurora is unaware of the danger when Carabosse turns up at the sweet 16th with a thorny black rose.
Set in a palace garden in QPAC's lyric theatre in Brisbane, the audience is introduced to the English National Ballet's Alina Cojocaru as a grown-up teenage Aurora.
Despite being in her 30s in real life, Cojocaru expertly exudes a youthful exuberance, curiosity and innocence through her fluid lines.
Using incredible agility, dynamic movement and unmatched fluidity, the guest artist masterfully treads a delicate line between every teen's uncertainty of the future and their untainted view of the world.
Taking a break from her at-times shy dancing with her possible suitors - the sons of the kings from Russia, China, Arabia and Persia - she welcomes the gift from the black fairy and soon collapses.
Wisdom puts the whole kingdom to sleep for 100 years and allows the forest to grow to hide the forest from view.
Prince Desire is introduced in this incredible wooded set - and you immediately know he's "the one".
The height he reaches during his solos and his travelling grand jetes are a sight to behold.
It's not the first time Birmingham Royal Ballet principal dancer Chi Cao has collaborated with QB's artistic director Li Cunxin.
Cao starred as Li Cunxin in the film Mao's Last Dancer when Cunxin's autobiography was adapted for film in 2009.
After Prince Desire lands true love's first kiss in romantic fairytale style, the stage becomes a whiz of perfectly executed arabesques, pirouettes, seemingly endless fouettes, fast-paced travelling grand jetes and bravo-worthy cabrioles and brises.
The pas de deux between the bluebirds - Laura Hidalgo and Camilo Ramos - is particularly outstanding.
But all Greg Horsman's choreography is just mesmerising.
If one overlooks the one partner drop and some clumsy landings throughout the two acts on Saturday night, it's hard to fault this production.
Fantastical set. Fairytale costumes. Charming musical scores. Brilliant dancing.
To learn more about this ballet and to book tickets, visit http://www.queenslandballet.com.au/on-stage/2015/the-sleeping-beauty.
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