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Bolshoi Ballet Royal Opera House.

BOLSHOI BALLET ROYAL OPERA HOUSE, LONDON AUGUST 9, 2006 REVIEWED BY MARGARET WILLIS

In April San Francisco Ballet principal Yuri Possokhov returned to his roots at the Bolshoi to stage his first full-length ballet, Cinderella, which had its Western premiere in London this July. Possokhov, one of the Bolshoi's most popular and talented young dancers, left Moscow in 1992 to dance with the Royal Danish Ballet before joining SFB in 1994. He perfectly fits Bolshoi director Alexei Ratmansky's vision for his company--to invite Russian-trained artists now working in the West to return to Moscow and share their experiences. With its cocktail of Soviet bravura, fastidious Danish footwork, and American neoclassicism, Possokhov's Cinderella certainly fulfills Ratmansky's plan.

Possokhov has delved into the history of Prokofiev's score (created during the turbulence of World War II) and sets his ballet in the dual worlds of reality and fantasy. A huge pockmarked planet is the home of the Storyteller, alias Prokofiev, seen busily composing, and Ptashka, his muse, whom he invites to enact the tale. (Ptashka was Prokofiev's nickname for his wife, Lina, who was sent to the gulag during Stalin's purges.)

The ballet moves briskly, the choreography flows well, and the action grabs the attention. All the dancers looked good, but outstanding performances came from the elegant Nelli Kobakhidze and sprightly Natalia Osipova in their neoclassical Seasons solos; Dmitri Gudanov as the Prince, offering true Soviet bravura; and a delightfully lyrical Yekaterina Krysanova, making her debut as Cinderella. Viktor Barykin's Storyteller conveyed subdued passion, taking the place of a Fairy Godmother.

Plenty of comedy was on offer: two buxom and dumpy Ugly Sisters, a very camp Dancing Master (brilliantly performed by Gennady Yanin), and a Prince Charming who makes his entrance at the ball by sliding down the banister of a huge staircase. The Prince's search for Cinderella takes him into the worlds of movies and opera--Prokofiev's other passions--where a Marlene Dietrich-like figure, a chorus line of legs, and a Maria Callas look-alike unsuccessfully try on the satin slipper. Though the mailman's (Prokofiev again) E.T.-style delivery of the invitations to the ball on an aerial bike was fun, Possokhov's other Hollywood touch--kitchenware in plastic skirts h la Beauty and the Beast--didn't work well. However, this first full-length work shows that the choreographer has a talent well worth nurturing. See www.bolshoi.ru.
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Title Annotation:Cinderella
Author:Willis, Margaret
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance review
Date:Nov 1, 2006
Words:391
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