[First delivered on Bob Marone’s morning program, Tuesday, July 3, 2007;  again on Environmentally Sound on July 12]

A new production, first danced with this company on June 2, 2006.  Premiered at Kennedy Center in D.C. on December 20, 1983.

Some interesting things, although not the gut-wrenching drama of Swan Lake which we reviewed two weeks ago. 

For one thng, the stepsisters aren’t really evil, and I think that is essential to the story.  They are more bumbling, comedic characters.  They more tease Cinderella than torture her, as does the stepmom.  Interesting that they do it on the tips of their toes, however.

Some interesting production techniques:  the garden elves who help Cindy with her chores are danced by adult dancers on their knees.  That has to be tough on them.

Think of ballet as pantomime.  Marcel Marceau makes you laugh, and this is a funny play.  Some people can’t understand how a story is told without words, but movement can be hilarious;  and sad and any other emotion, really.  It is the challenge of the dancers and the choreographer to make that happen.

Incidentally, if you wish an analogy that some will find interesting and easy to relate to, consider professional sports.  Hockey—even football–are balletic.  Michael Jordan was perhaps the greatest ballet dancer ever to play professional sports.  His leaps were as grand as Rudolf Nureyev’s and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s.

This is an updated version of Cinderella.  There are ball goers in modern gowns, a flash photographer, a long cigarette holder.

When the sisters are trying to be cool at the ball, one smokes a cigarette, but she coughs on it.  The other removes her glasses and flirts with the wrong guy—not the prince.

The sets are great.  The highlight:  the pumkin coach.  No horses.  The big pumpkin carrying Cinderella comes in on wires – it got applause which is unusual for a set piece.

When the clock struck 12, the pumpkinheads got intense and bore Cindy off sans gown and—of course—one glass slipper.

At the climax point, it is the godmother who steers the prince to the garden. 

The photographer, I guess, is there just as a visual to update the setting.

The clumsy stepsister (not the vain one) took some real chances with her falls.  Her knees and her whole body really were stressed.  I worried about her.

Nicely staged, great sets!  Lightweight ballet.  Not as touching as Swan Lake, but these dancers are a joy to watch regardless.

[Cindy – Julie Kent

Prince – Marcello Gomes

Fairy Godmother – Susan Jones – did they bring her out of retirement?  Used to be a principal dancer – beyond that now.]