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Alexandra, July 19, 2004 in Ashton Centennial
Reports from "Cinderella," please!!!
I saw the July 17th evening performance of "Cinderella". I don't have a lot of time, so I'll briefly mention that I really enjoyed it. I had only seen the Ben Stevenson production of "Cinderella" which I found extremely forgettable, so seeing the Ashton "Cinderella" was quite a treat. I found Tamara Rojo to be an exquisitely beautiful Cinderella, with great musicality. Inaki Urlezaga as the Prince
was a good partner, but an insecure solo dancer. In my view, however, the ugly
Stepsisters (danced by Anthony Dowell and Wayne Sleep) really stole the show. They even stayed in characer during their bows. I heard people complaining about the new costumes and sets during the intermissions, but having never seen the ballet before, they seemed fine to me. The choreography was just wonderful, as was the Prokofiev music. I would really like to see this ballet on a regular basis, and as the Royal Ballet doesn't come to New York very often, maybe ABT can change to the Ashton "Cinderella". (I saw Kevin McKenzie at the other end of my row. I don't see how he could help but be impressed by this ballet.) Ashton's "Cinderella" is a wonderful fairytale ballet, and I think ABT would benefit by dropping the mediocre Stevenson "Cinderella" and doing the Ashton version instead.
I saw the Friday perf. with Alina C./Johan K. They were great, esp. her. Her ability
to have each phrase of danse clearly defined...even with each note of music, was truly awe inspiring to me. She also has the most wonderfully arched back in arabesque, I have seen in a ballerina in the past 10 years. The strength of this partnership is that they gel into one being!!!!!!!!
I wish everyone could see this version of Cinderella, esp. the 2nd Act!!!!
i was in the audience for the saturday nite Cinderella. Tamara Rojo technically was very clean and had beautiful arms, but I felt that she was a very grumpy Cinderella, no real expression of happiness or sadness at all, basically a blank look. maybe thats the choreography? Inaki Urlezaga as the prince was, as said before, a solid partner, but not especially strong in his solos. The costumes were absolutely exquisite and the corps was unbelievably "together", you could feel them working as one. The most impressive thing about the whole production was Jose Martin (i believe) who played the jester. Amazing elevation and turns, he stole the show. The stepsisters were funny, but I felt there was a little too much of them. Perhaps the show should have been called UglyStepsisters and not Cinderella. I also didnt understand why Cinderella was forced to be a maid if it appearred that the father figure liked her. The 2nd act and 3rd act could definitly be combined into one, with the third being only a few minutes longer than intermission. As Fandeballet said, the 2nd act was the most beautiful, the third a close second. I grew up dancing Balanchine, so the more legato dancing of Ashton with such emphasize on arm placement and less movement was a little bit of a shock, but beautiful in its own right. The four season were danced well, each adding her own personality. You could tell the ballet had extensive rehearsal and preparation time, which so often isnt the case in NY, so it was lovely to see such a put together piece.
Wayne Sleep and Sir Anthony Dowell performed the ugly sisters during the New York run. It was magical. Sleeps varitation was interrupted several times with him apparently forgetting and having to ask Dowell what came next. It was sweet and funny. It really was reminiscent of the Helpman, Ashton partnership and the production was so beautifully danced in the style of delicacy and attention to line and port de bras. Sets were a bit clunky and the NY crew seemed to be struggling to get them on and off the stage, but the understanding and sensitivity to the music by the dancers really made the score (which is not my personal favorite) blend seamlessly with the choreography. I have a new understanding and appreciation of the music after seeing this production.
Alina Cojocaru made the role her own and had the sensitivity and delicacy of Sibley that we really dont see that much these days with the athleticism now so prevalent in classical ballet especially in the US. Johan Kobborg did not thrill me as the Prince. Technically he was very strong, his partnering was superb, but emotionally it was pretty shallow IMHOP.
I heard people complaining about the new costumes and sets during the intermissions, but having never seen the ballet before, they seemed fine to me.
I haven't seen the new production, but by comparing photographs of the current production and what I see on the 1969 recording, the only problem I have with the new costumes are the Stepsisters costumes. Do they have to be so blatantly ridiculous with seashell and fish patterns and feathers glued to them? Everything else, however, looks lovely. I especially love the new rags dress and act II Cinderella tutu.
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