OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Weren’t we all so innocent back then?
Count a little more than 2 years ago and it felt like we were all dancing to a different tune, not fully realizing just how easily everything could and would change.
When the spinning wheel and poisonous needle of a worldwide pandemic popped our balloon, performers and, especially ballet dancers like Mayu Odaka worried about their livelihoods.
“Yeah. Exactly,” she responds. “Dance companies were shutting down. We were worried we wouldn’t be able to do what we loved.”
Tchaikovsky wrote Sleeping Beauty, this now classic ballet in the 19th Century, but staff at Ballet Oklahoma, including Whitney Cross Moore, couldn’t escape noticing the similarities in a classic story where danger lurks, strikes, and puts the world to sleep for longer than anyone suspects.
“She wakes up to a changed world,” prompts a visitor to Ballet Oklahoma headquarters.
“That is a very philosophical point we hadn’t fully considered,” she responds. “The sleeping beauty wakes up a hundred years later and things are changed, and I guess that’s a little bit like what’s happened in our world.”
Waking up is a little disorienting at first.
It didn’t happen in an instant.
Masked dancers, masked audiences were the norm even in early 2022.
But emerging from sleep, say the principals here, makes everyone appreciate the things they lost since Spring 2020.
“We can definitely feel it,” says Odaka, a fairy in this show. “Getting back to work and performing to audiences. It gives us energy and helps us want to give a better performance.”
A fitting finale for a 50th season, Sleeping Beauty carries a big cast of dancers, lots of costumes, and props including a carriage that hauls the evil fairy queen.
The ending is pure fairy tale, but in this world the memories make this story that much sweeter.
The OKC Ballet production of The Sleeping Beauty takes place Mothers’ Day weekend, 2020.
Great State is sponsored by WEOKIE Credit Union