Cinderella: Enchanting Ballet

Film: Cinderella

Cast: Anna Tsygankova, Matthew Golding, Larissa Lezhnina, Megan Zimny Gray, Nadia Yanowsky, Remi Wörtmeye, Alexander Zhembrovskyy, Erica Horwood 

Director: Jeff Tudor

Oyez Oyez gentle ladies and gentlemen given to frequenting the NCPA. Get thee to the PVR multiplexes for the latest version of the ever-popular European folk tale  Cinderella  or The Little Glass Slipper immortalised by Charles Perrault in 1697 in French as Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre by and in German (Aschenputtel) by the Brothers Grimm.

Revolving around the unjust oppression of woman, the much loved folk tale has been adapted very many times in a wide variety of media and this version, recorded live at Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam, is an acclaimed collaborative endeavour between the Dutch National and San Francisco Ballet companies and the Holland Symfonia of the ballet composed by the Russian musician and conductor Sergei Prokofiev.

Composed between 1940 and 1944, (Prokofiev interrupted it to write an operatic version of Leo Tolstoy’s magnum opus War and Peace) Cinderella is the best known of his seven ballets. We are unable to say if the demands of the Stalin regime posed obstacles in his path; he was, after all, with Shostakovich and Khachaturian hauled up for writing anti-commie music (whatever that means!!!) So, like the persecuted heroine he was celebrating (Cinderella, as you all know, means one who achieves success after obscurity and opposition ) Prokofiev would also enjoy great popularity, despite the Stalinists.

The Dutch-American enactment of Cinderella is choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and notable for its jubilant music, stunning sets and costumes by the renowned designer Julian Crouch, and for the interesting recasts of character: Cinderella’s mother dies of TB,  the  stepsisters aren’t ugly at all; one of them even hooks an aristocratic suitor. There is no carriage which reverts into a pumpkin at the stroke of twelve but there is of course, the Royal Ball where Cindy loses her slipper and the stepmother gets drunk! What else?

The music is melodious and the multi-racial dancers glide, slide and pirouette in solos and pas de deux (by Cinderella and her Prince Charming) and enchanting ensemble dances of which the waltzes, oh the waltzes are simply scrumptious. Sigh!

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