This chapter introduces the problems of genre that the ballet production of Sleeping Beauty encountered after its premiere in 1890. What would become the quintessence of late nineteenth-century Russian ballet first received countless criticisms—many of which iterated the prediction that Sleeping Beauty would mark the decline of the art form. These same critics often noted how far removed the ballet's music, visuals, and narrative were from Imperial Ballet practice, whereas others questioned whether Sleeping Beauty should even be considered ballet at all. During this century, dance writers were mostly composed of what are known as the “balletomanes” where conservatism and connoisseurship were the main characteristics of their writing on the ballet. They expressed their outrage over the production of Sleeping Beauty whereas the more progressive critics endorsed its music and plot as the solutions to the perceived difficulties of Russian ballet.
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