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Department Of Dance

Preparation and Practice: Theatre Ballet’s Abby Wardle Discusses Her Debut in “The Sleeping Beauty”

Abby Wardle Shares Her Journey From Theatre Ballet Studio Company to Theatre Ballet and Her Upcoming Performance of “The Sleeping Beauty”

Abby Wardle on the Dance Performance Theatre Stage in Costume for "Sleeping Beauty"
Photo by Madeline Jennejohn

BYU Theatre Ballet returns to the Richards Building (RB) Performance Dance Theatre and the Conference Center Theater with the favored classic, “The Sleeping Beauty.” This year, the role of Aurora is danced by Isabella Mudrick and Abby Wardle with the role of Prince danced by Gordon Felesina.

Wardle, a sophomore in her first year with Theatre Ballet, said that she didn’t anticipate being cast in the lead role but was so excited to tackle the character.

“I absolutely love this role,” she said. “Sleeping Beauty is one of my all-time favorite classical ballets.”

Wardle recognizes that her time on BYU’s Theatre Ballet Studio Company (formally Ballet Showcase Company) was instrumental in her success on Theatre Ballet. During the 2022–23 year Wardle debuted the title role in TBSC’s original ballet “Robyn Hood.”

“I had never had that responsibility [dancing the lead role] before, especially in a ballet that was premiering, so it was a great opportunity to learn and grow into a more well rounded dancer.”

She spent the winter semester of her freshman year dancing more closely with Theatre Ballet and participating in some of their performances. “It was a great way to help me transition to Theatre Ballet,” she said. “It is amazing how involved the companies are with one another and how we get to perform with one another regularly.”

Abby Wardle on the Dance Performance Theatre Stage in Costume for "Sleeping Beauty"
Photo by Madeline Jennejohn

Now, Wardle faces the daunting, yet exciting, task of leading a full-length classical ballet. One of the challenges of dancing the lead role is the responsibility of the ballerina to carry the story along through both movement and acting.

“Aurora goes on a journey throughout the story of Sleeping Beauty, and I love the progression she makes,” Wardle said. “The most challenging part is definitely keeping myself calm and remembering the things I have worked on while I dance, all while also still telling the story.”

The challenge is worth the reward. “The most enjoyable part is getting to dance with my friends,” she said. “I have such a good time dancing with them and I always feel so supported by my peers and directors.”

Wardle is excited to bring this story to life and share it with viewers. “I think the audience will really enjoy this performance; there is something in it for everyone. I personally love Carabosse and the minions. The action between them and the fairies is very exciting and sure to keep the audience on the edge of their seats!”