BWW Reviews: The Colorado Ballet Presents an Enchanting Performance in the Classic Fairy tale, CINDERELLA!
The Colorado Ballet presents the beloved classic fairytale CINDERELLA playing now through February 23, 2014 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with choreography by Ben Stevenson, O.B.E. and music by Sergei Prokofiev, performed live music by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra. The ballet tells the story of Cinderella, a young, good-hearted woman who has been reduced to a life of servitude by her stepmother and two stepsisters. She dances with a broom, wishing it is a handsome prince at the ball. Her fairy godmother grants her wish by transforming her rags into a beautiful dress, a pumpkin into a carriage and her shoes into glass slippers. However, she only has until midnight before the spell is broken. The prince falls in love with her at the ball, but when the clock strikes twelve, she flees, leaving behind one of the glass slippers. The prince searches the kingdom for the fair maiden that the glass slipper belongs to, determined to make her his wife. When he realizes that the slipper belongs to Cinderella, the two are married and live happily ever after.
When you are dealing with one of the most beloved children's love stories of all time, there is a delicate balance between the story and the dance. While Act One struggled with this very issue, Act Two and Act Three found its footing and delighted the audience. I also appreciate that they double and triple cast the main leads to show off the variety of talent that is apparent at the Colorado Ballet. My evenings leads included Sharon Wehner as Cinderella; Viacheslav Buchkovskiy as the Prince; Christopher Moulton and Francisco Estevez as the Stepsisters; Maria Mosina as the Fairy Godmother; and Sean Omandam as the Jester. Now let's break it down -
Act One did so much storytelling throught movement and staging, that I began to wonder when the ballet would begin. The Fairy Godmother wasn't just for Cinderella, but for the entire audience as she brought to life the dance and raised the energy. Personally I would have trimmed down Act One a little bit (especially the scenes with the mothers portrait and shopping) and infused more dance into the plot (everyone in the audience knows this classic by heart and it didn't to be quite so literal). Also, I would have done something completely shocking and given voice to members of the company (seriously, this is a ballet and not a pantomime). By this bold statement, I believe that the show would have taken a more childlike, playful quality by simply adding in a couple of audible screams and obnoxious laughs from those scene stealing stepsisters. This unexpected surprise would have brought down the house and squeals of glee would have erupted from the kids in the audience.
Act Two was a complete transformation and lived up to a grand ball with elegant flowing costumes and exceptional choreography. The stepsisters outdid themselves again with their hilarious and awkward dance moves, and the jester kept the energy (and the leaps) high. The part I was most impressed with was the stunning duet between the Prince and Cinderella. This captivating part of the ballet was full of elegant lines and lovely extensions and they complimented each other quite nicely. Act Three did what Act One should have with more dance and less storyline. The final scene was so visually stimulating that you wanted to take a picture to capture that gorgeous moment forever.
More On: Ben Stevens, Sergei Prokofiev, Sharon Wehner, Maria Mosina, Kevin Wilson, Alexei Tyukov.