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Ashton's CinderellaWatching the Video Together


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#1 Ari

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 04:32 PM

Has everyone had a chance now to watch the 1969 recording of Ashton's Cinderella?

I thought I'd get the ball rolling with some suggested discussion topics. Of course, anyone is free to chime in on any aspect of the video, but maybe these questions can serve as a jump start.

First, here are some links to information about Cinderella that you might find interesting:

Productions of Cinderella a listing

Productions of Ashton's Cinderella

Cinderella on Stage Ballets and Operas

The Original Production, in Moscow

Quotes on Cinderella

Perrault's Tale

Now, let the discussion begin!

(1) Ashton's Cinderella was the first full-length ballet made for a British company. To what extent is this ballet a statement of what British ballet is (or should be)?

(2) Can you see the influence of older ballets, such as The Sleeping Beauty, in this one?

(3) Prokofiev's music is often acerbic and sour. Do you think that Ashton captures this in his choreography and staging?

(4) Some critics have argued that the antics of the Ugly Sisters overwhelm the story of Cinderella and the prince and the classical dancing. Do you agree?

(5) In another thread, a couple of posters said they found the ballet narratively deficient. Yes or no?

(6) What is the role of the Four Seasons in the ballet? Do they express a theme, aid the narrative, or are they just an excuse for more classical dancing?

(7) For those who have seen other versions of Cinderella, compare them to Ashton's.

(8) The jester seems to play a rather different role here than in other ballets. How is he different, and why? What is his role in the ballet?

(9) Discuss the performances.

(10) For those who have seen the Royal's current staging, how does it differ, if at all, from the one we see here? Choreographically, theatrically, scenically, stylistically? Compare the dancing in 1969 and 2004. Has the company's style changed? Are the dancers as good?

That should get us started! :)

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 19 July 2004 - 06:49 PM

Wow! What a great start! Thank you, Ari. Should we have a thread for each of your questions? Otherwise I'm afraid we may get lost.

Thank you for all those links -- I love Sibley's quote about the amount of stage time the ballet offers (in the quotes about Cinderella)

(Ari and I discussed this, and we're going to move this into the Ballets forum. Now that the videos forum is restricted to members, this means that non-members can't even see the forum. I'm also going to make separate threads for each question, as we did for the ballets in detail discussions. Anyone is welcome to post another "question" or topic!

#3 MakarovaFan

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 08:29 AM

Ashton's 'Cinderella' is my favorite production of the ballet and I have the 1969 Sibley/Dowell performance on tape.

I adore Prokofiev's score which is funny, bittersweet and romantic. I've always thought that Prokofiev was trying to write this score in the Tchaikovsky tradition (the fairy variations, pas de deux, corps dances). Does anyone else agree?

The video is great. This was my introduction to Sibley and I was enchanted by her performance from start to finish. She displayed superb technique and radiant characterization. For me she's a model Cinderella. Dowell's Prince is wonderful -- such a beautiful, elegant dancer. Helpmann and Ashton are hilarious and had great chemistry.

My favorite moments in the ballet are Cinderella's famous walk down the ballroom stairs en pointe, her solo that follows with Sibley's marvelous chaine pirouettes (is that the right term?) and her solo after she wakes up at home.

If anyone is looking for a recording of 'Cinderella', I highly recommend Andre Previn conducting the London Symphony Orchestra. Previn has the score in his bones and it's a gorgeous recording.

#4 Old Fashioned

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 01:35 PM

I had never liked Cinderella much until I saw this version. I had only seen Stevenson's version before, which is pretty dull, and I liked the score even less. It's astounding how Ashton could have turned out such wonderfully musical and beautiful choreography from Prokofiev's music which Ari described well as being "acerbic and sour." The patterns were so intricate and lovely. I completely agree with MakarovaFan on the dancers, although Dowell's performance in this video seemed a bit subdued emotionally. There are definite echoes of Sleeping Beauty- everything from the Fairy Godmother, her attendants, the Four Seasons, and there seems to be some choreographic similarities. I think I also read somewhere in a review that the Godmother's tutu in the current production is a shade of lilac.

#5 Ari

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Posted 25 July 2004 - 06:37 AM

I moved Paul Parish's post from this thread to the one where we discuss the performances.


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