Behind the scenes with the cast of the National Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty
In 1972, the sneering, stately Russian dance icon Rudolf Nureyev joined the National Ballet of Canada to stage a sumptuous new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. For the title character—a deceptively strenuous role whose player usually wears through five pairs of slippers per night—he chose a gawky young ballerina: Karen Kain, who later became Canada’s most beloved ballet superstar and the company’s artistic director. Nearly half a century later, Kain has created a new generation of ballet superstars: she recently promoted 17 dancers to soloist and principal positions, and many of them are performing in a remount of Nureyev’s grand opus this week. Here, a look at the glittering new brigade of ballet talent, behind the scenes at a recent performance of The Sleeping Beauty.