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Awakening Beauty: Wonderbound’s Revival of Elegance

From February 22 to March 3, a contemporary ballet troupe based in Denver is preparing for the grand debut of “Awakening Beauty,” a fresh interpretation of the classic story of “Sleeping Beauty.”

This rendition takes a unique approach by focusing on the protagonist Talia’s transformative journey from childhood to adulthood, exploring themes of self-discovery and empowerment rather than the traditional prince-rescue narrative.

Under the creative direction of Garrett Ammon, the performance will feature an original musical score by Tom Hagerman, a prominent member of a Grammy-nominated rock band, accompanied by local musicians.

Recently, Pointe magazine had the opportunity to interview Ammon about the inspiration behind this groundbreaking production.

How does “Awakening Beauty” reimagine the traditional tale of “Sleeping Beauty”?

The reinterpretation of the classic story is a complete reimagining. Hagerman drew inspiration from the motifs of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” to compose a mostly original score, subtly weaving in these themes throughout the music.

Exploring the character of Talia, the narrative delves into the roots of traditional fairy tales. Talia, named after a character from Giambattista Basile’s tale “Sun, Moon, and Talia” (1634), undergoes a profound evolution from a passive damsel in distress to a young woman embracing her identity and autonomy.

The story unfolds by depicting Talia’s familial and personal challenges as she transitions into adulthood, facing betrayals and inner conflicts that shape her journey towards self-discovery.

Could you provide insights into the choreographic process behind the production?

My choreographic process typically begins with extensive conceptual groundwork, translating ideas into movement with the dancers in the studio. The dancers’ contributions not only influence the choreography but also enrich the narrative and character development, fostering a collaborative environment that enhances storytelling.

During the final week of rehearsals, the dancers and musicians come together to synchronize the choreography with the live music, ensuring a seamless integration of all artistic elements.

How would you describe the design of the set and costumes for the production?

The set design, inspired by minimalist architectural styles like mid-century Bauhaus, symbolizes the journey from innocence to complexity in Talia’s life. The interplay of light and shadow enhances the emotional depth of her evolution from naivety to maturity.

Working closely with Wonderbound’s costume designer, Sloane Crazybear, my wife Dawn Fay has curated vibrant costumes that contrast with the minimalist set design, adding a visually dynamic element to the performance.

By setting the story in an ambiguous time frame, we aim to create a timeless and versatile backdrop that allows for diverse interpretations of the narrative.