• Zoe Phillips

My Favorite Rose Adages

We're back at the flower shop!

Sasha de Sola in San Francisco Ballet's "The Sleeping Beauty" (Photo: Erik Tomasson)

Last week, I twirled over Princess Aurora's Rose Adage from The Sleeping Beauty. Wait, what's that? You missed it?! Oh, dear! No worries in the slightest, you can catch up right here. It's quite a fun read — I stayed up past my bedtime writing about Russian Tsars and balancing flamingoes. And ballet, of course.

In that article, I used the clip of Marianela Nuñez's performance as Aurora. If you're a regular reader (love you guys!) you may have realized by now that I love Marianela, but she is not the only ballerina goddess out there. This week I'm back to give you a look at some other Rose Adages that have captured my heart over the years. Boil a nice pot of tea, perhaps grab a scone, and enjoy!


A sidetone if you're curious: adage and adagio are the same thing. They correspond to different techniques, but these days we use them interchangeably.

Aurelie Dupont, Paris Opera Ballet

Year unknown

This clip includes Aurora's entrance solo that occurs right before the Rose Adage, which should give you a sense of how out of breath the ballerina is before even starting her floral marathon. Nevertheless, Dupont does it beautifully. My highlights? Her balances — especially the ones across the front in the beginning and the promenades at the end — are unbelievably steadfast. She lets go of every suitor's hand with absolutely no fear and her posture is so secure that she genuinely looks like a porcelain music box dancer. I also love the use of Aurora's friends in the diagonal at 3:40 (#womensupportingwomen) and the amazing outfits of the four suitors. Hands up if you're on #teamgreen.

Olesya Novikova, Mariinsky Theatre

Year unknown

Novikova's développés are so mouthwateringly high that they border on dangerous. Too much physical display and ballet can border on gymnastics, but Novikova counters her abilities with an equal amount of artistry. Her smiles are dainty and she keeps her arm positions low throughout her various arabesques. It's a bold choice given the grandeur of the music, but her intrepid technique makes the performance highly fulfilling. In fact, it's so good that I've forgiven the costume department for giving Aurora's dad the creepiest mustache I have ever seen. Also, big shoutout to the corps women holding those partnered arabesques en pointe at 3:48. I see you, and you're doing amazing!

Darcey Bussell, The Royal Ballet


This video may be blurry, but its lack of focus is no match for Bussell's artistry. Watch her dynamic eyes and heads around 2:35 and her impeccable timing at 3:51. Throughout, her smile will bounce off of your screen and into your living room, hoping to penetrate your own heart. It's hard to believe she's not actually a 16-year-old princess at her birthday party, and she leaves me wanting to give her alllllll the gifts.

Sasha de Sola, San Francisco Ballet


This is only a partial clip from SFB, but de Sola's use of musicality is perfect. Note how she languishes in her penchée at 0:05; she's not afraid of being late and her use of every note makes all the difference. This is Aurora's first interaction with men, and those flowers mean something to her. De Sola makes that very clear. I also love the way she looks back at her mother before launching her final diagonal at 1:01. As the music grows the princess can start to look like a queen, but de Sola's glance over her shoulder reminds the audience that she really is just a teenager.

Laura Morera, Tart Adage, Royal Ballet


Yes, you read that right. Tart Adage. In Christopher Wheeldon's production of Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts performs a Tart Adage that is a hilarious parody of Aurora's famous dance. The suitors become cards and the roses become tart pastries. The piece is funny even if you don't know The Sleeping Beauty, but now that you've seen the Rose Adage you'll understand the hilarious references. Click play and thank me later.

I first published this article on the original twirls4houghts blog on Oct. 21, 2019

Updated 2020. Many thanks to Emily Considine for the header art at the top of my page!