BWW Reviews: New York Theatre Ballet's CINDERELLA
By Holly Kerr
New York Theatre Ballet's production of Cinderella is another delightful flower in their garden of wonderful children's ballets.
Sergei's Prokofiev's dark and rather ominous score has often eluded choreographers for its non- danseable qualities, as compared with the ballet scores of Peter I. Tchaikovsky, Leon Minkus and Leo Delibes. However, choreographer Donald Mahler has done a stellar job in the musical adaptation of Prokofiev's score into a shorter, more accessible version. The pas de deux for Cinderella and the Prince, as well as the ensemble dances for the Guests at the Palace, were woven as one with the music. In Mahler's collaboration with Sylvia's Taalssohn Nolan's lovely costumes and Gillian Bradshaw-Smith's delightful sets (the dancing Clock is a standout), New York Theatre Ballet has another winner.
All of the members of New York Theatre Ballet danced beautifully and with gracious charm. Standouts were Elena Zahlmann as Cinderella; with her dreamy quality and rock-solid pointe work, she embodied the role. Steven Melendez was elegant as the Prince and his partnering was superb; I wish the choreography could have shown more of his stellar technique. Dan Renkin as the Majordomo, Seth Ives as the Dance Master, and Mitchell Kilby and Michael Wells as the Stepsisters (and the Clock) delighted the audience with their deft comedic timing.
Artistic Director Diana Byer's charming educational talks before the show are always engaging. They are a wonderful way to acquaint both young and adult audiences with the makings of a ballet. This talk centered on an entertaining demonstration by stage manager Pepper Fajans, who showed how the stage is marked with colorful tape to guide the dancers and props on the stage. This was followed by five adorable "dancing examples" (young students from New York Theatre Ballet's school) who made group patterns of squares, diagonals and triangles using the tape marks.
New York Theatre Ballet remains an indispensable cultural institution for furthering ballet education and the creation of future ballet audiences.