Diana Vishneva explores Aurora's 100-year sleep. Photo by Inna Nebeluk, Courtesy Sleeping Beauty Dreams.

Superstar Diana Vishneva on Her New Passion Project, "Sleeping Beauty Dreams"

This winter, the renowned Russian dancer Diana Vishneva will appear in her most high-profile project since she retired from American Ballet Theatre in 2017. The 42-year-old prima ballerina, who gave birth to her first child, Rudolf Victor, last May, is set to star in the ambitious, technologically innovative multimedia production Sleeping Beauty Dreams, choreographed by Edward Clug. The production will also star Marcelo Gomes as Prince Peter. Inspired by the provocative question "What did Princess Aurora dream during her 100-year sleep?", Sleeping Beauty Dreams premieres December 7–8 at Miami's Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and continues to New York City's Beacon Theatre December 14–15, before moving on to what promotors say will be a two-part international tour.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams New Trailer youtu.be


Pointe spoke to Vishneva through a translator about her role as performer and creator, and the project's place in this stage of her career.

How did you become involved in Sleeping Beauty Dreams?

On top of my career as a classical ballerina I have always been involved in modern art and modern dance. The CONTEXT Festival I have been doing in Russia since 2013 is a modern dance festival. Before my pregnancy I was already developing a project that involved the newest technologies with Rem Khass, who became the creative producer for Sleeping Beauty Dreams. After that we quickly brought together a team. I was not just someone who inspired the idea—I was involved in the entire process.

Tell me about the concept behind the piece and your role.

Sleeping Beauty Dreams is not an attempt to rewrite a world-famous fairy tale. There is a black-and-white plot in that story about good and evil. In our story, good and evil coexist within my character. Sleeping Beauty Dreams will be a journey into the inner world of my character, to show the struggles within her soul. It becomes a story of meeting one's dark side and overcoming it.

Who are the other artists that makes up the ballet's team?

We have Edward Glug as the choreographer; he has worked with many companies including Nederlands Dans Theater. Tobias Gremmler is creating these huge digital characters, projections that will react to my movements onstage. Noisia, a noted experimental electronic music group, is doing the music, and Bart Hess is doing the costumes. He's known for his avant-garde vision and interest in uniting the virtual and real.

How do you see this project fitting into the post–prima ballerina stage of your career?

I would rather see my involvement with ABT as one part of my life. At a certain point, I also understood that I needed to move forward, that I have already said everything I wanted to say in the classical world. So, this is a new chapter for me.

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These are challenging times. The social distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 has likely meant that your regular ballet training has been interrupted, while your performances, competitions—even auditions—have been cancelled. You may be feeling anxious about what the future holds, not only for you but for the dance industry. And that's perfectly understandable.

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And we know that you will, too. We've been utterly inspired by how the dance community has rallied together, from ballet stars giving online classes to companies streaming their performances to the flood of artist resources popping up. We've loved watching you dance from your kitchens. And we want to help keep this spirit alive. That's why Pointe and all of our Dance Media sister publications are working nonstop to produce and cross-post stories to help you navigate this crisis. We're all in this together.

We also want to hear from you! Send us a message on social media, or email me directly at abrandt@dancemedia.com. Tell us how you're doing, send us your ideas and show us your dance moves. Let the collective love we share for our beloved art form spark the light at the end of the tunnel—we will come out the other side soon enough.

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