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Cinderella

What better way to celebrate Saint Valentine's Day (which became associated with romantic love in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle) than to take in the tale of Cinderella, a persecuted heroine who overcomes her trials and finds true love.

Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Photo: Mike Watson
The framework for this story goes back at least as far as Rhodopis, a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt, though the versions we know as Cinderalla are generally attributed to Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1697) and to the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales (1812).

In this lovely ballet version—music by Sergei Prokofiev and choreography by Ben Stevenson (Artistic Director, Texas Ballet Theater)—our prototypical rags-to-riches girl (Maria Mosina) and her hen-pecked father (Dmitry Trubchanov) are held virtual captives by her mean step-mother (Lorita Travaglia) and her two uncouth step-sisters (Kevin Wilson and Jesse Marks).

Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Photo: Mike Watson
The ageless Mosina's girlish charm and body language delight at every turn, beginning with her characterization as a waif dreaming of the palace ball, as she dances with a broom. The family dynamics are established quickly as her father returns and compares her to the picture of her mother, followed by her step-mother snatching the painting. Soon, a Crone shows up and is derided and then ignored by the step-sisters and step-mother, before Cinderalla offers the old woman some bread, confirming the girl's kindness and virtue. After the dressmaker and the dancing master finish attempting to civilize the step-sisters, the Crone returns as the Fairy Godmother to prepare Cinderalla for the ball. This magical interlude—set in an enchanted forest with the spirits of the seasons—establishes the tone for the rest of the story.

(Left to right) Kevin Wilson and Jesse Marks as the Stepsisters
(L to R) Kevin Wilson and Jesse Marks
as the Stepsisters
Photo: Mike Watson
Wilson and Marks provide constant comic relief as the cross-dressed, garish, and clumsy step-sisters, always making the most gauche choices. Travaglia and Trubchanov also provide a comical departure from standard sexual role playing, with the domineering stepmother forcing father to cower.

The palace ball, with the ensemble decked out in crimson finery and arranged in triplets, is wonderfully dreamy, save for the Jester (Kevin Gaël Thomas), who makes fun of everyone, drawing much laughter from the audience. The Prince (Alexi Tyukov) is not impressed with his choices, and is particularly displeased by the clueless stepsisters. And then, a magical coach arrives bearing Cinderella.

The palace ball: Artists of the Colorado Ballet
The palace ball:
Artists of the Colorado Ballet
Photo: Mike Watson
Mosina and Tyukov share a lovely pas de deux that is alternately seductive, dreamy, captivating, exalting, joyous, elegant, and intimate. Their technique and the lifts and throws are immaculate. Then, each dazzles us with a solo, before an ensemble interlude, and a fleeting reprise for Cinderella and the Prince, before the clock strikes twelve and Cinderella runs off.

Alexei Tyukov as the Prince and Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Alexei Tyukov as the Prince
and Maria Mosina as Cinderella
Photo: Mike Watson
In Act III, after the customary scene in which the Prince and his aides visit Cinderella's house and go through the motions of trying to shoehorn the glass slipper onto the stepsisters' oversized feet, before Cinderella is discovered in the shadows, the ballet moves back to the enchanted forest, where the Prince and Cinderella are again fêted by the spirits of the seasons, and then married, to live happily ever after.

Maestro Adam Flat and the ballet orchestra present a lively and flavorful rendition of Prokofiev's score. Kudos to the Texas Ballet Theater for the evocative scenery and costumes

The Colorado Ballet's Cinderella runs through February 23rd, including weekday and afternoon performances. 303-837-8888 or www.coloradoballet.com.

Bob Bows

 

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