Alessandra Ball plays Aurora in the North Carolina Dance Theatre’s production of “Sleeping Beauty,” which opened March 8 at the Knight Theater. A dancer with the company for eight seasons, she has been in rigorous daily rehearsals to prepare for her lead role. Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, N.C. Dance Theatre’s president and artistic director, and associate artistic director Patricia McBride have helped the cast bring a fresh approach to the classic tale.
Joanne Spataro, Correspondent
Q. How did you get the role of Aurora? Jean-Pierre saw how much I just loved the ballet “Sleeping Beauty.” I loved the role of Aurora. I loved her energy and everything she encompasses.
Q. What is it like to work with Bonnefoux? It’s amazing. He came from the Paris opera and then the New York City Ballet. He has this great advice on the simplicity of ballet. Sometimes his corrections work wonders. You’ll continue to do it a certain way and he’ll pop in and say you need to adjust yourself here or he’ll tweak something. He has seen so many “Sleeping Beauty” productions.
Q. What’s new about this production? Jean-Pierre has rechoreographed quite a bit of it and he’s also stayed true to the structure of the pure ballet that “Sleeping Beauty” is. I hope audiences are taken away by the magic of the story. Everyone in the company looks exquisite and has been working so hard.
Q. How have you prepared? We’ve been rehearsing quite a bit. There’s a lot that Aurora does. In the first act, she’s 16 years old and you have to show that in the way you carry yourself. In the second act, there’s a whole vision scene and a long solo. The third act is the running scene. It’s a huge challenge not only for stamina but for my artistry and the technical aspect of it as well.
Q. You’ve been dancing since you were 3. What is the key to staying in prime dance form? It’s just something that a dancer has to learn. When I was a teenager, I remember doing some really difficult pieces. I wouldn’t mind so much if my body got tired because I could recoup so much faster. Becoming an adult was a different story. For a professional dancer, it’s important to learn how to work throughout the day and push yourself in a smart way so you’re ready to jump into a big ballet or a challenging role.