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carbro

Cinderella

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This is a very intricate and sometimes busy ballet and the second viewing helped me see many details I had missed the first time around. I love many of Kudelka's ideas like Cinderella gaining shoes with her ascension and in the last act having her dance on only one shoe showing her torn between two worlds and identities and in an awkward state. I also think that the sets and costumes are lovely and now I would definitely see this version again which I wasn't sure of after Wednesday night.

FauxPas, I'd like to see this again. I'm hoping ABT will revive it for next year.

Richard

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His dancing is more square-torsoed than New York audiences are accustomed to, a distinctly NBoC quality, but he was able to change the scale of his dancing, filling the stage.

I think I know what you mean about Côté's dancing style, but could you elaborate a little, carbro?

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I went to the Saturday night performance, and I'm glad I decided to go. It's clear that ABT has a huge hit on their hands, and good for them. It's an attractive production, the sets are great and most of the individual costumes are beautiful thought I don't think they work well together a lot of the time. Based on this production I'd have to say that Kudelka is a much better storyteller than a choreographer. It was a pleasant, entertaining evening but aside from the last pas de deux there wasn't much in the way of great dancing. I mean, a lot of it was inventive (like Cinderella dancing in one point shoe, or even the concept of turning the glass slipper into a point shoe) but although his concepts were interesting in retrospect it feels like they were expressed through great stagecraft rather than great choreography. Still, it was fun and I'm sure it will entertain many little girls and their families for years to come.

Carbo and FauxPas described the cast I saw very well, and I agree with fandeballet about Reyes & Cote. He is a wonderful & very appealing dancer, but what I like best about him is what he brought out in Reyes - they have great chemistry together. They also look really good together, they are a good match in terms of size and line. Her artistic growth over the past year or so has been remarkable. From a talented soloist with a one note stage presence she is maturing into a versatile and appealing artist.

We do have more than our share of remarkable male dancers at ABT but I would love to see Cote brought in as a kind of permanent guest artist like Acosta or Malakhov for a few appearances with Reyes each season. A Reyes/Cote Romeo & Juliet or Giselle would definitely make it onto my calendar - strange but true!

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Based on this production I'd have to say that Kudelka is a much better storyteller than a choreographer.

Those of us who saw his full-length narrative ballet "The Contract" might beg to differ (at least I do!). I think Kudelka has the benefit of the audience already being so familiar with the Cinderella story. But with "The Contract", this was not the case, and his storytelling was quite muddled. The characters' motivations were unclear and the progression of the plot was awkward.

I do agree that in his production of "Cinderella" the charm is in the modern interpretation he has chosen (e.g. Cinderella as a feisty and strong-willed woman, rather than a damsel in distress), as well as the designs, more so than any innovation in the steps.

Having seen this ballet at its premiere and again last year, it is so interesting to read everyone's thoughts! Now I wish I could see this Reyes/Cote casting!

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Question: What happens in the first minutes after the curtain goes up? There was action upstage in the fireplace, but the lighting was so dark I couldn't make out what was going on.

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Question: What happens in the first minutes after the curtain goes up? There was action upstage in the fireplace, but the lighting was so dark I couldn't make out what was going on.

I found the figures coming out of the fireplace unsettling. They appeared to be adult figures with shoes on their knees----imitating--what?--dwarfs? a nightmare? Mercifully, they didn't stay around too long.

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The opening sequence could be staged better. I like the "dream" concept but using adults down on their knees acting like dolls just seems strange. Now if Kudelka used children instead I think it would work much better....charming instead of weird! I have to add that I personally love this production of Cinderella and have seen it many times since that first opening night.

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The opening sequence could be staged better. I like the "dream" concept but using adults down on their knees acting like dolls just seems strange. Now if Kudelka used children instead I think it would work much better....charming instead of weird! I have to add that I personally love this production of Cinderella and have seen it many times since that first opening night.

I'm with Noreen here, I wish they would have used children. When the figures appeared and came out of the fireplace, I thought what a neat touch. Cinderella is having a daydream. But then I started looking at what seemed to be adults walking on their knees (with shoes on them). It looked weird and distracted from what could have been a real mood-setting moment. Instead of focusing on the pantomime, I was trying to figure what the odd figures were.

Richard

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I agree with Juliet. That sequence seems so oddly out of place with the rest of the ballet. Not only was it weird because they are adults walking on their knees, but I also found their mechanical movements and makeup (masks? I forget; it's been a year since I saw this ballet) eerie.

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I agree that children could be much more effective. I love the scene in front of the gypsy wagon in the Kirov's Don Q where the children act out a Don and Dulcinea scenario. Unfortunately they don't tour with that bit.

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I agree that children could be much more effective. I love the scene in front of the gypsy wagon in the Kirov's Don Q where the children act out a Don and Dulcinea scenario. Unfortunately they don't tour with that bit.

The lack of dancing children is a casualty of ABT not having a school until very recently. NYCB has always had troupes of well-drilled balletic tykes from SAB in "Coppelia" and "Nutcracker" (and their annoying picture-snapping parents in the audience). Petipa always used children in his big ballets. I was surprised when I viewed the video of the Kirov's "Don Quixote" with Terekhova and Ruzimatov that there are some little nymphets or pixies or elfs or somethings trailing around the Dryades in Don Quixote's dream sequence following the scene you mention.

The restored 1900 "La Bayadere" had a "Lotus Dance" for children in the last act and in the Betrothal Scene divertissements there was a "Crooked Dance" of black-faced children that was dropped on the U.S. tour due to the lack of kiddies trained to perform it. The original "Swan Lake" Act II had little baby swans trailing after Odette and her big Swans (not the four Cygnets). The Notations in the Harvard archives confirm this. I wonder if we would be happy if they were restored - the "Swan Lake" act II looks better without all that clutter... :)

Anyway, when Sergeyev restaged these ballets in the West, notably the Sadlers Wells, there were no troupes of trained children to perform these dances so they were dropped from the examples above and the Garland Dance and Waltz in "Swan Lake" and "Sleeping Beauty" where they worked in and out of the adult corps.

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I was wondering what you all think of Joan Acocella's take on the Kudelka Cinderella:

... a Cinderella ... that looked as though he had made it with a gun to his head. He may have. This piece was created in 2004 for NBC, of which, at that point, Kudelka was the artistic diirector; NBC, too, has conservative subscribers. Kudelka introduced a few revisionist touches -- Cinderella as tomboy, etc., -- but he didn't seem to care about them any more than he cared about the traditional elements of the story."
Acocella's piece seems to have (uncharacteristically for her) a lot of extreme judgements that are not really supported by descriptive detail. Does this characterization of the ballet as a whole ring true?

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I've been thinking more about the changes Kudelka has made to the scenario, their moral implications, and the contrast with the Ashton version. I laud his decision to stake out his own territory with the ballet, even though I've decided it doesn't quite work for me.

The clues come at the end of Act I. Ashton gives us the Fairies of the Four Seasons and the corps de ballet of Stars. We become privy to the celestial order, the workings of the universe. In the ultimate wish-fulfillment, Cinderella will leave behind the dirt of the hearth and ascend to a throne, graduating from the personal to the public sphere. There are two realms, earth and sky, the seasons binding them together. The inspiration (as for Ashton it tends to be) is Sleeping Beauty, only this time the princess has to earn her exalted position through love.

Kudelka has brought us down to earth with his garden metaphor. At the end of Act I we get Blossom, Petal, Moth and Twig, and at the end of the ballet Cinderella and Prince Charming return to the nurturing bed of their garden. The description of the conclusion in the synopsis has always grated on me: "The Prince and Cinderella did what each of them would love best for the rest of their lives: they retired quietly to the garden, where they would always find peace and love in making their garden grow."

This reminds me of the ending of Voltaire's Candide, where Candide says to his family circle, we must tend our own garden. In the context of Cinderella, this is a completely bourgeois resolution. Yes, the aristocracy is anachronistic in this day and age. But in ballet the aristocratic state can still symbolize something meaningful: becoming someone to look up to, joining the body politic and leading it. These royals renounce responsibility to the greater good and focus on personal development. Cynically, Kudelka implies the world consists of shallow socialites and intrusive paparazzi—it's corrupt and should be turned away from. So Cinderella and her prince selfishly reject the social contract. Kudelka says, "I also wanted to avoid the rags-to-riches theme; to me, this ballet is about personal transformation." He has done so, but that robs the ballet of an extra dimension.

Cargill made a wonderful point writing about ABT's Raymonda: that the best story ballets have a spiritual aspect. There are contrasts between real and dream worlds, and choices between good and evil: The otherworldly dimension

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