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NYCB Vol. 6 No. 22 - Sleeping Beauty

Although Balanchine never mounted a production of Sleeping Beauty himself, the ballet holds a significant place in the history of NYCB. After being sent to the Imperial Ballet School against his will at the age of 9, he made his stage debut in Petipa's Sleeping Beauty at the age of 10. He recalled this pivotal experience in the book Balanchine's Tchaikovsky (affiliate link) by Solomon Volkov:

“My first time on the stage was in a Tchaikovsky ballet. It was in Sleeping Beauty. I was still a small boy then, I was Cupid, a tiny Cupid. It was Petipa’s choreography. I was set down on a golden cage. And suddenly everything opened! A crowd of people, an elegant audience. And the Maryinsky Theater all light blue and gold! And suddenly the orchestra started playing. I sat on the cage in indescribable ecstasy enjoying it all—the music, the theater, and the fact that I was onstage. Thanks to Sleeping Beauty I fell in love with ballet."--George Balanchine

Balanchine age 10 as a Cupid In Petipa's Sleeping Beauty. 1914.

Balanchine's view into the house of the Mariinsky Theater from the stage at 10 years old.

Video I captured of the interactive photo feature on the Mariinky's website.

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