Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding

Teacher Information

Based on the famous fairy tale by Charles Perrault, The Sleeping Beauty tells the story of the beautiful Princess Aurora, who is cursed at her christening by the wicked fairy, Carabosse, to prick her finger on a spindle and die. Through the goodness of the Lilac Fairy, instead of dying on her sixteenth birthday, Aurora falls in to an enchanted sleep for a hundred years until she is finally awoken by the kiss of Prince Désiré. Our ballet will feature what happens after the magic kiss and the wedding celebration of Princess Aurora to Prince Désiré.

The ballet opens with the Dancing Stars and Magical Little Fairies who bring in the Lilac Fairy to guide the Prince to find Sleeping Beauty and awaken her with a kiss.

The Wedding of Prince Désiré and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) takes place on the esplanade of King Florestan’s palace. The court assembles to celebrate the marriage of Prince Désiré and Princess Aurora. The Lilac Fairy starts the celebration by introducing the Ladies of the Court and Special Guests. The festivities feature a series of divertissements. The Lilac Fairy, along with the Diamond, Gold, Silver, and Sapphire Fairies, dance. Then several fairy tale characters join in the festivities: Puss in Boots and the White Cat; Goldilocks and the Three Bears; Cinderella and her Stepsisters; the Bluebird and Princess Florine; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; and Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. Princess Aurora dances a beautiful solo followed by a pas de deux featuring Princess Aurora and Prince Désiré. The ballet ends with a lively dance celebrating the marriage and the blessing of the sacred wedding.

Choreographer: Marius Petipa

Marius Petipa, the “father of classical ballet,” was born in Marseilles, France, in 1818. He began his dance training at the age of seven with his father, Jean Petipa, the French dancer and teacher. As a principal dancer, Petipa often appeared with Fanny Elssler, and was much acclaimed for his performances in such ballets as Paquita (which he restaged and in which made his debut), Giselle, La Peri, Armida, Catarina, Le Delire d’un peintre, Esmeralda, Le Corsaire, and Faust. Considered an excellent dancer and partner, his acting, stage manners and pantomime were held up as examples for many generations of dancers. Marius Petipa is considered one of the greatest choreographers of all time. He researched the subject matter of the ballets he staged, making careful and detailed preparations for each production, and then worked closely with the designer and composer. His classicism integrated the purity of the French school with Italian virtuosity. Petipa elevated the Russian ballet to international fame and laid the cornerstone for 20th Century ballet.

Composer: Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

Born in Votkinsk, Russia, Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky is widely considered the most popular Russian composer in history. He trained at an elite primary school and began study at the St. Petersburg Conservatory in 1862 as a full-time music student. He taught harmony at Moscow Conservatory beginning in 1866, and served as a music critic for a Moscow paper from 18721876. He toured as a conductor domestically and abroad until 1887.

Tchaikovsky’s more than 200 musical works include The Maid of Orleans (1878-79), The Queen of Spades (1890), Swan Lake (1876), The Sleeping Beauty (1888-89), The Nutcracker (18911892), and Romeo and Juliet (1869).  His work varies from operas, ballets, symphonies, suites, concertos, and cantatas.


Fun Facts

• The Lilac Fairy’s name comes from an old Russian belief and tradition that says placing a newborn baby in their cradle under a lilac tree will bring the child great fortune and wisdom. • The earliest version of the Sleeping Beauty story dates back to the mid 1300s. • The Brothers Grimm version of Sleeping Beauty is based on the Perrault story; like many Grimm fairy tales, the original story is much more violent than what modern audiences are accustomed to.

Lesson Plan

The Sleeping Beauty is a much beloved fairy tale, and like all fairy tales contains a strong “moral of the story” element. • What do you think this story is trying to tell young readers/audiences? • What lessons have you taken from this or other well known fairy tales? • Do you think that they are still relevant lessons today, hundreds of years after the stories were created? • Can you write a fairy tale of your own? What important lessons would you like it to convey? • If your family is originally from outside of the United States, are there any traditional tales or moral lessons passed down through stories told to children that you could share with your classmates?

Lesson Plan

Vocabulary word activity; define the following terms and create an original poem. • Adventure • Bluebird • Brambles • Celebration • Chamber • Commended• Conceal • Condemning • Deceive • Despair • Devoured • Eloquence • Enchanted • Enchantment • Fairies • Inclinations • Lilac • Leagues • Misfortune • Princess • Resolved • Resplendent • Slighted • Spectacle •