The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Cinderella, the Ballet

By Virginia Ross

We all have visions of what this story entails and in fact, have seen or read many versions-Disney's enchanting story, last year's movie Cinderella with a star from Downton Abbey, or the fairy-tale from childhood.

This Cinderella was different. The Moscow Festival Ballet definitely had their version.

Surprisingly, the crowd was more than I had expected and included many children of all ages. Grandmas had brought their granddaughters, Mom accompanied both girls and boys, and probably a few Aunts and Uncles brought their relatives.

Quite a few were in the balcony which means the crowd was expecting a good show and they stayed.

Knowing the basic story, we all recognized the evil stepmother and step sisters plus the shabbily dressed Cinderella; however, in this version Dad was on stage too commiserating with poor picked-on Cinderella. The evil stepsisters and mother danced their parts well. (Ballet is a demanding physical pursuit and the athleticism of all the dancers was incredible.)

The story progressed as expected with the herald proclaiming the ball, the usual hustle bustle finding dresses, but Cinderella's godmother was a beautiful blue fairy accompanied by a band of green, yellow, white and red sparkling fairies instead of the Disney friendly grandmotherly type.

Yes, she gives Cinderella a stunning pink chiffon frock and the story goes on to the ball.

Oh, the clock was dressed in period costume and alerted the audience to the fact that time was counting down. The jester, my favorite, frolic here and there (not knowing much about ballet, I was impressed at his portrayal).

A stage full of dancers in period dress whirling and leaping was magically. A series of special "solos' by individual dancers showed what expert training and hours of practice are needed to produce such highlights in a show.

Yes, the prince arrived in dazzling white and discovered Cinderella.

The second act opened with the Prince longing for Cinderella and part of his court trying to entertain him-Indian, Spanish, Chinese and Russian dancers try to gain his attention. But alas, no.

Here again, their version has a few extras; back home Dad in on the stage along with the stepmother and stepsisters when the herald and jester arrive to announce the Prince. And, thus the story goes as expected.

All of this was presented before a backdrop of an elegant drawing room with chandeliers, fog to give a mystical atmosphere and velvet curtains with Prokokiev's score grounding the entire production.

As I said before, "I do not know the intricacies of ballet, but I do encourage all to experience the magic of this other world.

The next Civic Music will be on Feb. 13th with Celtic Nights-Spirit of Freedom.

Attend, bring a friend.