Posted 04 November 2008 - 11:12 AM
I agree with many aspects of this review. Christina Michanek was indeed an excellent Cinderella - one of the best ballerinas I've seen at the Royal Ballet in a long time, and Mads Blangstrup was also better than I've ever seen him, perhaps because he is finally out of Kenneth Greve's shadow.
The costumes and the staging were indeed excellent, although unlike the reviewer, I liked the second act. It was a whole lot of Matthew Bourne combined with a little Preljocaj - wit and a little weirdness.
That said, Tim Rushton, the choreographer, has a signature move that drives me crazy - he has his dancers move their heads forward and backward like a chicken, again and again. I think he thinks it looks fluid, like water, but to me it's just incredibly ugly and awkward. The first act is full of this move, along with that annoying digging-arm motion that Preljocaj overdid in the NYCB's La Stravaganza, back in 1997. What's more, the first act includes a couple of "hairdresser" characters who walk around with limp wrists, quivvering buttocks and a lot of other gay-stereotype moves that I found pretty offensive, although I'm not a politically-correct type.
The third act is also not very impressive - I found myself closing my eyes to listen to the excellent orchestra instead of watching it. Blangstrup as the searching Prince is indeed good, particularly when he searches for his princess in a seraglio of lost souls, but that couldn't overcome the basic boredom of watching Cinderella hang out at home.
There's also a short prologue to this ballet that I didn't understand - two people who appear to be Blangstrup and Michanek in different costumes hug goodbye while the fairy godmother watches. The fairy godmother doesn't have much of a part in this "Cinderella" - she's kind of a cloud that appears from time to time, and doesn't dance at all.
Despite the problems with this production, however, it's still better than anything I've seen by the Royal Ballet in a long time. The dancers are fresher - Nikolaj Hubbe seems to have cleaned out a lot of dead wood - and better trained. The production looks modern and has a bit of humor to it. I wouldn't call this "Cinderella" an instant classic, but it bodes well for the future.