Sleeping Beauty on ice

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The idea to bring "Sleeping Beauty on Ice" to Stamford started as both a lofty dream and a necessity to Maria Shclover, founder and president of Maestro Artist Management, a Stamford-based touring and promotion company. Shclover, a Stamford resident for more than 10 years, felt stifled by the options for family entertainment in the area and often found herself trekking into New York City with her children for theater or arts activities.
"As a producer and as a mother, I am always looking for family-friendly entertainment," says Schlover. "I saw that a lot of famous touring companies pass by Stamford, choosing major cities instead."

This year, however, Stamford has slipped onto the radar of the St. Petersburg Ballet, which will skate, spin and salchow its rendition of "Sleeping Beauty" at the Palace Theatre on Atlantic Street this Sunday.

The St. Petersburg Ballet will wrap up its three-month tour in the United States on Dec. 23.

Wooing the troupe of dancers and skaters to Stamford was no easy feat. The prep work alone could make any theater producer shiver, as 24 hours of continuous assembling, stage reinforcement and freezing layers of water in 10- to 15-minute intervals is required for the production.

"Build it and they will come," is the philosophy behind this production. As 6,000 pounds of ice are smoothed as day breaks on Sunday, the 35-member troupe indeed will come filing in.

General director Mikhail Kaminov, a champion pair figure skater who has been head of the company for more than 10 years, will lead the troupe; Konstantin A. Rassadin is the ballet's artistic director and principal choreographer. Rassadin is a former star of the Mariinsky Theatre of Opera and Ballet of St. Petersburg, where he performed leading roles for 23 years and partnered with renowned ballerinas such as Alla Osipenko and Natalia Makarova.

The tale about Aurora, a princess plagued by a 100-year sleeping spell cast by a wicked fairy, will unfold on ice to the musical score by Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky composed the original production in 1890 and it has been reworked into a rendition of the classic ballet on ice.

According to Dasha Oganezov, spokeswoman for Maestro Artist Management, the most anticipated scenes are the ones with the wicked fairy.

"The jumps and spins that the wicked fairy performs are the most taxing," says Oganezov. "And the costume for that character is just so scary."

When the skaters take their final bows and glide off the ice on Sunday evening, another laborious process will just be beginning. A crew will rush in, chisel the ice into chunks and sweep it away. Meanwhile audiences "swept away" from Sleeping Beauty's dreamy wintry wonderland will come trickling out of the Palace Theatre.

"The St. Petersburg Ballet on Ice is a world-renowned troupe," says Schlover. "There is no need to leave Stamford to experience world culture."

Performances of "Sleeping Beauty on Ice" will be on Sunday at 2 and 6 p.m. at Stamford's Palace Theatre, 61 Atlantic St. Tickets cost $37.50, $50 and $60. Call 325-4466 or visit

The Stamford Advocate Staff

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