Long before Angelina Jolie appeared as Malificent on the silver screen, Marcia Haydée re-interpreted the role of the “evil” fairy Carabosse in her ground breaking 1987 production of The Sleeping Beauty. With gender-bending choreography and spectacular – and equally ambiguous – costuming by designer Jürgen Rose, Haydée created a tour de force role for dance legend Richard Cragun, a role which to this day fascinates audiences and inevitably steals the show.
Haydée had had many encounters with the Petipa classic long before she created her own production: it was the first ballet she ever saw as a child and she danced in various versions including in Bronislava Nijinska’s for the Marquis de Cuevas Ballet, as well as Nicolas Beriozoff’s and Rosella Hightower’s for the Stuttgart Ballet. When she auditioned for John Cranko in 1961, she danced variations from The Sleeping Beauty for him and gave her debut in Stuttgart in the Bluebird pas de deux. Her extensive knowledge of the work was therefore the solid foundation on which she built her interpretation when she created her own version in 1987 – the very first ballet she ever choreographed. “The Sleeping Beauty for me is the story of Carabosse – whose feelings and pride have been hurt, and who consequently does something malicious – and the Lilac Fairy, who counters this rage and negative energy with positive energy. And I think we all carry aspects of both of them within us. Their struggle is a universal one, one we can all relate to.”
Haydée’s focus on Carabosse, who is constantly present throughout the ballet, continues until the very end when, just as the wedding of Princess Aurora and Prince Desirée has been celebrated, she re-appears, striding slowly along in front of the panorama of fairy-take characters, a menacing reminder that she has not been banished and will, in time, return.