Review: Sleeping Beauty at the Manassas Ballet

Manassas Ballet had us come in for a review of Sleeping Beauty, and I was very excited to go.  I’ve never taken my kids to the ballet and I thought that the familiar story of Sleeping Beauty would be a perfect fit.  We took my daughter and her friends to the fairy tea (which was kind of a mess but ended up okay) so she was already a “fan” of some of the dancers.

The orchestra was amazing, and the ballet was lovely, but it wasn’t wonderful, and I really really wanted to be able to say it was wonderful.  My husband, who grew up going to ballet with his Grandmother in NY had some very strong feelings, and they were not positive.  My oldest son and I found lots of things we liked, for example, the little dancers were all adorable, the Bluebird and the Prince were amazing, and the evil fairy’s henchmen were really funny.  The sets were beautiful, and we liked that we recognized the music from the Disney version.  I actually thought that the purple fairy was really wonderful, too.  So, all that being said, I had a really hard time writing this review.  And then, magic! I was saved when a friend who went sent in her review:

was very excited to attend the Manassas Ballet on Saturday evening. My
husband had purchased discount tickets at his work. We still spent
$120 for the evening for four tickets. When we arrived we found our
seats had been double sold. Not a huge issue, four seats right next to
ours were open. However, the ushers and the box office staff did not
really seem to offer any suggestions.
The ballet started with live music. The Manassas Orchestra did a
fabulous job, but I think the sound could have been better. It was a
little too quiet for my tastes. Overall, the show was slow. A lot of
solos. It dragged in a lot of parts and there were 3 breaks. That is a
lot of breaks. The men who played Prince Charming and Bluebird were
fabulous dancers. I would have liked to seen more of them since they
were so talented. It was clear that the men take dancing very
seriously. I did not think the dancing was crisp nor did I think the
women dancing were very graceful. The ballet did a good job of “telling
the story”, but I would not recommend the show. I will have a
difficult time convincing my daughters to attend a ballet again. It
felt a lot like a recital and less like a formal ballet performance. I
want to have loved this, but I did not.

Feedback on Facebook was mixed.  I got this:
It was nice and we enjoyed it, however kids and I felt swan lake and nutcracker were much better. We really loved the orchestra!

But then I also got this:
I was totally impressed! Everyone should really check it out.  

I think the breaks were probably a really good idea with a lot of little kids attending, but since the performance we attended started at 7pm, we didn’t leave until 10, so my 6 year old was asleep- so if you’re going to attend a future performance, I’d try for a matinee option if there is one.  My 8 year old made it most of the way, but the last act was too much, and my 10 year old made it the entire performance, so it might also be an age thing.  It’s always hard

The tickets are not as expensive as going to the Kennedy Center, and you won’t have to pay for parking, which is great. The Hylton Center parking is free. It sounds like, based on reader feedback, that this might just not have been the best piece for us to see, so we’ll try it again, but I might wait until my kids are a little older. I think this was a great opportunity to see some ballet locally and I look forward to trying another performance.