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Kudelka's Cinderella


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#1 Paquita

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 03:33 PM

Did anyone go see it yet? I went on opening night (saturday) and was quite blown away! Kudelka has managed to create a production where the dark undertones of Prokofiev's score and the fluff of the fairytale story are not at odds with each other. He does this by taking a different perspective on the story. The ballet is not centered on the rags to riches transformation of the heroine. In the end, Cinderella and the Prince share a simple outdoor wedding and begin a private life together. She does not become a glorified princess with fame and fortune. The prince sees in her a way to escape the superficial and corrupt materialism that he is thrust into at birth and that Cinderella's stepsisters aspire towards. At the ball, the prince seems distant and distracted. He reminded me of Siegfried, but a little less melancholic. Kudelka's clever use of the photo journalist (performed by senior dancer Hazaros Surmeyan) helps in portraying the characters without using pantomime. While the guests at the ball (especially the stepsisters) love the camera, the prince is uncomfortable with the attention. In the last scene (after the wedding), the photographer asks his permission for "just one" photo, but the prince turns him away. Overall, Kudelka stays away from mime as he did in his other full-length work, the Contract. This time, however, it is more effective. I overheard two comments in the lobby during intermission: "I thought I was going to fall asleep but i didn't! The pace was fast" and "You'd be lost if you didn't know the story!" The ballet is roughly 3 hours long including intermissions, but it feels much shorter. The narrative unfolds at a brisk pace, even if certain details are sacrificed. It works because most people in the audience are very familiar with the story. If it were a new story, more explanations would be required and it would deffinately be more of a challenge to find an alternative to mime.
Much of the success of Kudelka's Cinderella lies in it's ability to appeal to both children and adults. In this ballet, we catch a rare glimpse of the choreographer's witty sense of humour. Kudelka's works have been known as meditations on the themes of "love, sex, and death". When he created his "Firebird" he said in an interview that he would like to add "whimsy" to the list. That "whimsy" is on display here, as Kudelka shows his lighter side. The story is still in tact and recognizable for younger audience members. The "around the world" sequence in Act III is colourful and funny (although I find it unnecessary and over-the-top), as we follow the prince to the Arctic Circle, Japan, Spain, Holland, India, etc. Older audiences will appreciate the fresh interpretation of the story, the innovative choreography that is so in tune with the music, and the hillarious performances of Victoria Bertram (the alcoholic stepmother), Jennifer Fournier (the vain and shamelessly self-promoting stepsister), and Rebekah Rimsay (the awkward stepsister with thick, plastic frame glasses).
I am a huge fan of the music, and I really like what Kudelka has done with it. It certainly is a difficult score, but the changes in mood and speed are matched perfectly in the choreography.
In the lead roles, Sonia Rodriguez and Guillaume Cote were ideal. Her Cinderella is a feisty and hopeful dreamer that always manages to make the best of the situation. Her dancing (most scenes in the kitchen are done on bare feet) is exuberant and articulate. There is a wonderful solo in the third act where she dances with only one pointe shoe! Cote posesses an elegance beyond compare. His prince is regal and refined, yet exceptionally warm. In the ballroom pdd, he quite literally sweeps Cinderella off her feet. In the around the world scene, Cote and his 4 attendants perform several grand allegro combinations and a series of pirouettes a la seconde. Unfortunately, the attendants could not match the elevation and extension of Cote's leaps or the speed and precision of his turns.
Finally, the imaginative sets and costumes designed by David Boechler were just stunning. Cinderella's home is framed with huge art deco flowers and the stepsisters many tacky outfits are hillarious. But the most dazzling scene is the ballroom (Act II). The corps women are each dressed in different black and white gowns, stylishly adorned with sequins and fringe. Cinderella stands out in a warm pastel cocktail dress. She makes her entrance in a flying pumpkin-chariot drawn with bright ribbons, the sight is magnificent.
I hope others will get a chance to see this new production that should prove to be a great success for the company!

#2 mom2

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Posted 10 May 2004 - 07:16 PM

Thanks for that, Paquita! I had to change my season's tickets (should have gone yesterday) for next Sunday, so I guess I will see the last show. Am now looking forward to it!

I am still very much on the fence about renewing my subscription, in spite of the implied threats that I will not ever get decent seats in the new theatre. Grr. I can't wait to see that nasty reminder taped to my seat the way it was last year! :angry:

#3 gracey

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Posted 16 May 2004 - 03:06 AM

We were finally able to go on Saturday and it was wonderful. Heather Ogden danced a beautiful, feisty Cinderella, nailing the dramatic performance to show Cinderella's personality (which you can see they love) and her beautiful flawless technique & line(which we love!) - we can watch her forever....

Highlights included her dance in the single shoe and the "around the world" scene as the prince hunts for Cinderella was priceless. The step sisters were truly worth seeing and had us laughing constantly. Outstanding preformance


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