#4 - Do the Ugly Sisters overwhelm the story?
Posted 19 July 2004 - 07:13 PM
Posted 19 July 2004 - 10:39 PM
I find Ashton's Cinderella the best of the Cinderellas; I simply loved it, on the video and live.
Posted 20 July 2004 - 05:22 AM
That Ashton and Helpmann were never bettered in their roles was more to do with their personal rapport than any lack of ability in their successors, though over the years I did get the feeling that Helpmann became too overbearing in his role and finished up displaying no subtlety at all.
Posted 20 July 2004 - 05:23 AM
Posted 20 July 2004 - 08:14 AM
Even with Ashton and Helpmann (whom I loved!) I would have to say that it bothers me, in theory, that the stepsisters are 40 years older than Cinderella. I would imagine Ashton dispensed with the Wicked Stepmother because that would have been too much, but the poor father has to be the weakest man on the ballet stage. That said, I forget this when Ashton and Helpmann begin to move! I've only seen the latest cast on video too (it was broadcast on Britisih TV) and I think Dowell and Sleep are too much. These roles need to be directed by someone stern, who can say "stop!"
I also agree with Mashinka that a lot depends on the ballerina. A truly great, authoritative ballerina is never upstaged. If you have a ballerina without Ballerina Authority, no matter how beautiful her dancing, she can be overshadowed by other performers.
Posted 20 July 2004 - 09:51 AM
I agree that the Sisters don't overwhelm the rest of the ballet in this performance, and it doesn't bother me that they're so much older than Cinderella -- actually, I hadn't noticed it till Alexandra mentioned it. If we're to take the characters that literally, we might ask why they're men. I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a couple of hours. I think you have to do that to some extent in any narrative ballet -- or opera or musical. People don't just naturally start to dance, or burst into song.
Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:28 AM
Posted 20 July 2004 - 10:35 AM
Posted 24 July 2004 - 03:56 PM
I've seen Stevenson's version so often, I tend to dread Cinderella...the slap-stick stepsisters in his version completely overwhelm. For me, the result is Cinderella is too much of a non-entity, an afterthought, even with a great dancer. I prefer the subtleties and the details in the Ashton version, particularly (as others noted) in Cinderella's pointe work, which help delineate her character more sharply than that of the stepsisters. The result is a ballet that revolves more around Cinderella, than the stepsisters.
(This participating business is making me very nervous.... ... )
Posted 24 July 2004 - 04:06 PM
Subtelty and humor in the style of say Cinderella or even Coppellia seems to something they understand and excel at.
Posted 25 July 2004 - 06:59 AM
Am I understanding you correctly that Stevenson also uses men as the stepsisters? It's interesting to see how other choreographers approach this. In the only other Cinderella I've seen, the recording of the Konstantin Sergeyev version, for the Kirov (not the Bolshoi, as the DVD and video incorrectly state), they are danced by women, on pointe, and have quite a lot of dancing to do. It does takes away from Cinderellas's specialness.
Posted 25 July 2004 - 07:36 AM
Yep, no doubt inspired by Ashton's version.
Am I understanding you correctly that Stevenson also uses men as the stepsisters?
Posted 25 July 2004 - 09:02 AM
Posted 25 July 2004 - 11:48 AM
At least, that’s what I gathered from the program notes for the Moscow Festival Ballet, which did a revision of the first Bolshoi version on their tour through here last year -- with very funny pointe work for the stepsisters, and a hilarious drag role for the MOTHER (whom Ashton left out of the story).... THe ballet was conceived for Ulanova, and she was a very real dballerina, and Cinderella was conceived as a real person surrounded by horrible vulgarity....
I reviewed it for Danceviewtimes -- here’s the link if anybody wants to check it out
it was kind of wonderful, but not as lovely as Ashton's -- though there was a beautiful quiet pas e deux where he offered her the crown, and they danced with it using it for support (like hte tambourine in Esmeralda)....
Posted 25 July 2004 - 12:10 PM
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