Greg Horsman’s production of Tchaikovsky’s fairytale ballet beats record set by last year’s Romeo and Juliet.

Two of literature’s most iconic romantic couples have gone head to head, but after just one year on the throne, Romeo and Juliet have been usurped by Princess Aurora and her handsome Prince Charming as the Queensland Ballet’s biggest ever box office draws.

Last year the company’s staging of Romeo and Juliet set the highest box office takings for single production in 54 years. However its recent production of Tchaikovsky’s fairy tale fantasy The Sleeping Beauty, has overtaken last year’s production of Prokofiev’s Shakespearian tragedy as the Queensland Ballet’s highest selling show ever. More than 16,500 people attended performances during the season from October 23 to 31, exceeding takings of $1.15 million at the box office.

The new record is also a success for Australian choreography, as Victorian-born Greg Horsman’s The Sleeping Beauty overtakes one of ballet’s most revered stagings of Romeo and Juliet, by legendary British ballet master and former artistic director of Covent Garden’s Royal Ballet, Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin

Queensland Ballet Artistic Director Li Cunxin attributed the smash-hit success of this production to the addition of three international ballet stars to the company’s ranks this season, thanks to the support of the Queensland Government. Romanian ballerina Alina Cojocaru, currently a Principal Dancer with English National Ballet, Cuban dancer Victor Estevez and Chinese dancer, on loan from Birmingham Royal Ballet, Chi Cao, who played Li Cunxin in the award-winning 2008 film adaptation of his autobiography, Mao’s Last Dancer, all performed leading roles in The Sleeping Beauty. “Alina is widely considered to be one of the best Auroras dancing today and those who saw her performing the role of alongside Chi Cao were certainly thrilled by the experience,” Li shares. “Victor danced the role of the Prince with one of our Principals Laura Hidalgo and also wowed audiences.”

The record breaking production will also be a particularly proud moment for Queensland Ballet dancer Shane Wuerthner, who was promoted the Principal Dancer – the highest rank in the company – following Saturday’s final matinee performance in which he performed the role of the Prince. Wuerthner joined Queensland Ballet as a Soloist in 2014, having previously danced for the San Francisco Ballet and the Vienna State Opera Ballet.

The Queensland Ballet’s festive favourite, Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker, opens at QPAC on December 9.