Long before Fifty Shades of Grey made it kosher to read BDSM lit on BART, Anne Rice wrote her own best-selling erotica trilogy. Based on the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty, Rice's version of the story begins with Beauty awakened from her sleep by a sexual encounter and proceeds into three books' worth of explicit scenarios from there.
The first novel, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, was published in 1983, seven years after Interview with the Vampire had created a cultural sensation, and Rice used the pen name A.N. Roquelaure for the Beauty books so that she could write with some freedom. The trilogy sold like hotcakes and was even adapted into audiobooks, but never before has a dance company attempted Rice's reworking. Until now. Jamie Ray Wright's local DanceWright Project makes "Beauty" the centerpiece of the program for its 2012 Season, using contemporary movement to express the sensuality and darker themes of the story.
Rice has defended her novels against allegations of pornography, standing her feminist ground that women can write whatever they damn well please, and DanceWright focuses on that aspect of empowerment as well. This premiere also features music by Renee Baker of the Chicago Modern Orchestra Project, a group that is known for defying convention itself. Although the other pieces on the program are not quite so racy, this would probably be a good evening to leave the kids at home.
"Beauty" starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 14 (and runs until tomorrow) at Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St. (at Mission), S.F. Admission is $20-$25.
Here's The DanceWright Project performing "Redeux of Alter Egos:"