A lot has changed since Queensland Ballet last presented The Sleeping Beautyin 2015. Then, it featured three guest artists, including superstar prima ballerina Alina Cojocaru and two princes supplementing its single male principal (there was, however, a promotion at the conclusion of the final performance). One of those guests, Cuban-born Victor Estévez, went on to become a resident Principal in 2016.

Neneka Yoshida and Victor Estévez in The Sleeping Beauty, 2021. Photograph courtesy of Queensland Ballet

Most notably different is the expansion in dancer numbers, youthful lead role debutantes and season performances. The company has grown (including the Jette Parker young artists) by 20 dancers to 59, providing the depth to furnish an additional cast (five in total). Four of the Auroras and Prince Désirés are performing the characters for the first time: Principals Neneka Yoshida – given opening night honours – and Lucy Green, Soloist Mia Heathcote, who has featured in the promotional imagery, and company artist Chiara Gonzalez, alongside Principal Camilo Ramos and Senior Soloists Patricio Revé, Joel Woellner and Kohei Iwamoto. Only Estévez and fellow Principal Yanela Piñera previously performed these roles.

No doubt the ambitious programming of 16 shows at QPAC’s Lyric Theatre was...