Australian Ballet's new Cinderella, by Stanton Welch, brings a new angle to the familiar tale. It has romance and wit but Welch has also drawn on the somber thread running through Prokofiev's musical score. There is no fairy godmother; there are no fairies. When Cinderella seeks solace at her mother's grave as her cruel stepmother and stepsisters go off to the royal ball, her mother's ghost emerges. This apparition conjures up a horde of other, rather sinister ghosts, and it is they who dress Cinderella and transport her to the ball.
Cinderella herself is not the meek, downtrodden little creature of other versions. She is a small spitfire, with short cropped hair and elbows akimbo, who fights back at her stupid stepsisters--kicking, punching, and tripping them up.
At the ball, the Prince, very handsome, is totally self-centered and vain and it is his quiet secretary, Dandini, with whom Cinderella falls in love. The final curtain falls on the two of them walking towards a vast, starry sky and we hope) a life of love and happiness.
The ballet is well constructed and the story plainly told, the choreography deftly matching each mood as we move from the family home to the graveyard, the ballroom, and the various locales of the final act, with its search for the owner of the slipper. There are two beautiful, tender pas de deux for Cinderella and Dandini, marked by soaring lifts and particularly lovely use of arms (a trademark of Welch's choreography).
Miranda Coney was a feisty, enchanting Cinderella; Damien Welch, ardent and endearing as Dandini. Geon van der Wyst was perfect as the beautiful, conceited Prince. David McAllister and Steven Woodgate as the Stepsisters (on pointe) and Paul De Masson as the Stepmother were all excellent. Marilyn Jones, a former leading ballerina of the company who was once also its artistic director, made a welcome return in the cameo role of Cinderella's mother.
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|Title Annotation:||Australian Ballet, State Theatre, Melbourne, Australia|
|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Jul 1, 1997|
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