It’s been a year since we moved back to California. Our anniversary is this month. We could have chosen anywhere in the world to live and southern California was our first choice. We’re often asked if we’ll ever return home, to eastern Canada, but our answer is consistently the same – this is our home now. SoCal has so much to offer. Its beauty is undeniable and the opportunities are even more prevalent. I love to travel and it will always be as much a part of me as family and friends but it’s never discouraging to return home. As an anniversary celebration to California, I attended The American Ballet Theatre’s world premiere of The Sleeping Beauty. The world is at our doorstep in California; living in Orange County is like awaking from a long sleep and opening my eyes to a handsome dream prince and a castle of possibilities.
Attending a world premiere was a beautiful reminder of why I moved here in the first place. I didn’t even attend a professional ballet production until I was 21 years old. It just wasn’t available in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Now, I just experienced one of the technical, visually stunning performances and on opening night.
Alexei Ratmansky’s new staging of The Sleeping Beauty took place at Segerstrom Center for the Arts. The evening’s cast included Principal Dancers Diana Vishneva as Princess Aurora and Marcelo Gomes as Prince Désiré, as well as over 350 lavish costumes designed by Richard Hudson inspired by Léon Bakst’s designs for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The beloved score by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was performed live by Pacific Symphony.
As Princess Aurora danced with her suitors on her sixteenth birthday, two uplifting thoughts ran through my mind. The first and most obvious thought was that Diana Vishneva was flawless. I was transfixed at her arabesque body position as she greeted the suitors. I’ve attended dozens of ballet performances with the top dancers in the world yet I never felt so mesmerized by a dancer. That moment made me reach the other beautiful realization. With all that California has to offer, that could be Athena on stage. I’m not saying that I will force her to be a ballerina or a dancer or a musician or a singer or anything else, but the opportunities are available to her. Equally fantastic opportunities are available in education and sports. The possibilities are endless.
I was swept away by Diana Vishneva and Marcelo Gomes. It was a world premiere event and I didn’t need to travel half way around the world to attend. California put it all within reach.