Posted 16 June 2014 - 05:21 AM
I also attended the June 14th matinee performance of Cinderella.
Frederick Ashton’s ‘Cinderella’ is a delightful ballet for both the young and the young at heart. Ashton’s choreography set to music by Sergei Prokofiev, bring the fairytale characters to life. The movements for the fairies of the four seasons are intricate and demanding. The twelve stars create magnificent geometric patterns when they dance. One of the most thrilling moments in this ballet is when Cinderella descends the stairs of the ballroom on pointe. She looks like she is floating. The pas de deux Ashton has created for Cinderella and the Prince are wonderfully romantic. The audience, as well as the young couple, are caught up in the glorious love story. David Walker’s costumes and scenery are gorgeous, especially in the Act II and III ballroom scenes.
All the young dancers perform the complicated Ashton choreography beautifully. Some, however, stand out. Xiomara Reyes as Cinderella displays her exquisite musicality. Her turns a la ménage are wonderfully done. Reyes has a very expressive face which clearly shows Cinderella’s hopes and fears.
Young corps member, Joseph Gorak, is a perfect Prince, reminiscent of a young David Hallberg.
He is an attentive partner who performs great turns and light leaps with the softest of landings. Reyes and Gorak have lovely chemistry and are a very sweet fairytale couple.
The ugly stepsisters are one of Frederick Ashton’s most memorable creations. In the tradition of British pantomime they are danced by men. For years Ashton himself, along with Robert Helpmann, performed the parts to great acclaim. Thomas Forster and Kenneth Easter are both funny and believable in the roles. Forster and Easter are not just men in dresses hamming it up. They are actors portraying real characters. Forster is the domineering sister (the Helpmann role) while Easter is the bashful but flirtatious younger one (played by Ashton). They stay in character even during the bows. Easter is given a huge bouquet of flowers while Forster gets a much smaller bouquet. Forster immediately grabs the larger bunch of flowers from Easter and gives him the tiny bouquet.
Corps member Devon Teuscher is a perfect Fairy Godmother, performing with smooth, honeyed movements. The fairies of the four seasons and the twelve stars all dance their roles wonderfully. Arron Scott is an exciting and funny Jester. His leaps and turns are absolutely amazing. I especially like it when he talks to the little jester doll he’s holding. Usually what he seems to be saying is “Let’s scare the silly younger stepsister.”
I hope ABT keeps this lovely ‘Cinderella’ in their repertoire for many years to come. I also hope they promote Joseph Gorak and Devon Teuscher to soloists soon. These are two extraordinary dancers who deserve a chance to show what they can accomplish.