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.
The show (under the direction of choreographer Ben Stevenson and staged by Janie Parker) flowed like magic and although I felt it was a little long, especially for the children in the audience (which became audibly apparent in Act Three from several crying kids), it transported us into the fairytale and gave the audience a sense of wonder, magic and delight. I also have to mention the absolutely spectacular set and costume design courtesy of Texas Ballet Theater that made the fantasy come alive. I especially loved the stunning appearance of depth and dimension in Cinderella's homestead and the ballroom; and those tacky garish costumes of the stepsisters were perfect.
Even with its lack of dance in Act One, this is an absolutely enchanting performance and visually stunning, so take the family and enjoy! Colorado Ballet's CINDERELLA is delighting audiences at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House now through February 23rd. For tickets or more information on the Colorado Ballet, contact the box office at 303-837-8888 x2 or online at www.ColoradoBallet.org.
Also be sure to check out their exciting progress on their brand new facility!
About Colorado Ballet
Established in 1961 by Lillian Covillo and Freidann Parker, Colorado Ballet is a non-profit organization celebrating 53 years of presenting world-class classical ballet and superior dance in Denver. Under the direction of Artistic Director Gil Boggs, Colorado Ballet presents more than 50 performances annually. Colorado Ballet enhances the cultural life of Colorado through performances of the professional company, training at the Academy, and Education & Outreach programs.
PHOTO CREDIT: Mike Watson
PICTURED ABOVE: Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Kevin Wilson and Jesse Marks as the Stepsisters
The Ensemble of CINDERELLA
Maria Mosina as Cinderella
The Company of CINDERELLA
From This Author Michael Mulhern