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Cinderella

Photo of Cinderella's magic coach
Cinderella's magic coach
Photo: David Andrews
Part of any well-rounded ballet season includes a couple of productions that particularly appeal to the younger generation, who will hopefully form the core of future audiences and donors while keeping alive this exquisite art form. This year, in addition to the perennial box-office favorite, The Nutcracker, the Colorado Ballet chose two family-oriented classics, last autumn's The Sleeping Beauty and the current Cinderella.

As so many children's stories that are derived from ancient cultural myths (e.g, the canon of the Brothers Grimm), Cinderella has its dark side: a cruel step-mother and two selfish step-sisters. But in this production, based on choreography by the company's former artistic director, Martin Fredmann, these unfortunate stereotypes are replaced by their farcical alter-egos—a daft mama-san and two gauche siblings. John Henry Reid mixes haughty and hapless to great comedic effect as a battle axe lording over her Mutt-and-Jeff progeny: Janelle Cook as the aggessive beehive-topped eldest, and Casey Dalton as the flip-coiffed near-sighted youngest.

Photo of Chauncey Parsons as Prince Charming and Maya Makhateli as Cinderella
Chauncey Parsons as Prince Charming and
Maya Makhateli as Cinderella
Photo: David Andrews
This makes for a light tale that centers on the rags-to-riches ascent of the kind-hearted heroine. As has been their custom of late, the company triple-casts the role to spread the wealth. On the evening of this review, Maya Makhateli expressed an inner radiance that captured both the fresh joys of youth and a compassion that belies Cinderella's physical years. If we needed any convicing that our golden girl is deserving of a fairy godmother who makes her dream's come true, Makhateli's performance leaves no doubt in both its elegance and acting.

Photo of Chauncey Parsons
Cinderella's magic coach
Photo: David Andrews
Chauncey Parsons, as Prince Charming, is all that as well: his leaps are graceful and athletic, his lifts seemingly effortless, and when he first sets eyes on Cinderella, the chemistry is palpable. This sympatico remains throughout, making this production a convincing love story.

Photo of Chandra Kuykendall (center) as the fairy godmother, with the faeries of the four seasons
Chandra Kuykendall (center) as
the fairy godmother, with the faeries
of the four seasons
Photo: David Andrews
Chandra Kuykendall, as the Fairy Godmother, lends a magical touch to the proceedings, not only in the pyrotechnics of her arrival and conjurings, but in her classical solos, which are enhanced by the divertissements of Dana Benton, Ryoko Kono, Asuka Sasaki, and Sayaka Karasugi as the seasonal fairies.

Photo of Nathan Vander Stoep as the Dancing Master
Nathan Vander Stoep as
the Dancing Master
Photo: David Andrews
Masahiro Momose's Jester is a stunning catalyst to the action, and Nathan Vander Stoep's Dancing Master single-handedly establishes the courtly atmospherics of the period.

Though economics forced the company to use a recorded version of Prokofiev's lush score, the Ellie's acoustics prove to be making significant progess after recent improvements, with the audio track remaining bright throughout. The same cannot be said of the auditorium's climate control, which has been problematical since Day 1. On a chilly night outside, many patrons kept their coats on inside to brace themselves from the cool air circulating the entire evening. This has been the case on numerous occasions this winter, in contrast to last fall when the hall was stifling during a warm spell.

Photo of Chauncey Parsons as Prince Charming and Maya Makhateli as Cinderella
Chauncey Parsons as Prince Charming and
Maya Makhateli as Cinderella
Photo: David Andrews
This issue did not dampen the enthusiasm of all the young Cinderellas in the audience, though, who buzzed about during the two intermissions showing off their most lavish fairy dresses for this special, "happily ever after" event.

The Colorado Ballet's Cinderella runs through April 2nd. 303-837-8888 x2, or www.ColoradoBallet.com

 

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