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Last night we went to our final American Ballet Theatre performance of the season, which also happened to be their final performance of The Met season. The Sleeping Beauty was absolutely gorgeous and a nice way to close out the season.

We got to see Cory Stearns, who has become  a favorite over the season again last night. We’ve seen him in three of the four shows and have loved him in each. Stearns was Prince Désiré and, while he didn’t show up until the second half of the show, he was absolutely stunning in his dance with the Lilac Fairy and later with Princess Aurora.

The Princess was danced by Paloma Herrera, who is celebrating 20 years with ABT this season. She was incredible. The pointe work she did was unbelievable. I can’t imagine the work that goes into a role like this where you are up and spinning on your toes so much. I don’t think I’ve seen pointe work like this in the other shows we’ve seen this season.

Princess Aurora wasn’t the only one with a lot of pointe work. The Lilac Fairy and her court did too. It was incredible to watch all of these women execute so beautifully. Also a standout was Princess Florine and The Bluebird with a couple of beautiful duets.

The Sleeping Beauty had some of the most elaborate sets and effects as well. The castle was huge and impressive. There was also the use of smoke and fireworks with the evil Fairy Carabosse made her entrances. Carabosse had minions that had some very different choreography, almost animalistic. It was cool to see them dance in counterpoint to some of the royal guard.

This ballet has a very long history. It was first choreographed in 1890 by Marius Petipa. ABT did it’s first full-length production in 1976, with choreography from Mary Skeaping from the original of Petipa. Additional choreography has been added over the past couple of decades to get the show to where it is now. It’s got some very classic attributes, such as many company members sitting on the sidelines watching the action and a lot of hand-gesture acting. This was reminiscent of Don Quixote, which we saw earlier in the season.

We are very happy we got to attend so much ballet this spring and summer. I think we’ll going to much more ABT in the future, as well as trying out New York City Ballet. We’ve already looked at their 2011-12 season and see some interesting options there.