I ended my ABT season yesterday with a matinee of Cinderella. I frankly wasn't expecting to like it too much; I thought it was going to be pretty silly. But actually, I would up liking it a fair amount!
Part of it was that Cinderella was danced by Stella Abrera, which was very fitting as she is having a bit of a Cinderella moment herself. Everyone and their mom knows that Misty Copeland was promoted to principal this week, but so was Abrera, after 19 years with the company and 14 years as a soloist.
If you have been following my ballet going adventures, you may remember that I liked Abrera in pretty much everything I've seen her in this season and that her Giselle was unforgettable. Her Cinderella was very lovely as well, and she was well matched by Joseph Gorak as the Prince. They are both very elegant dancers with beautiful lines. I also thought Devon Teuscher was well cast as the Fairy Godmother. Very pretty and fairy-like. All of the season fairies were very good, but Sarah Lane stood out in particular as the Spring Fairy.
However, Cinderella doesn't really seem to be about its characters, but rather beautiful moments and images that stay with you. They include: Cinderella and the Fairy God-Mother mirroring each other's movements when they first meet, the Fairy Godmother throwing the pumpkin into a puff of smoke and the silvery carriage coming on stage, Cinderella descending a set of steps en pointe without looking down while courtiers hold a diaphanous train behind her, the season scrims successively raising to reveal the next, pinpoints of star light emerging from the dark before the dancers do their beautiful configurations, and Cinderella and the Prince walking off into a gorgeous shimmering shower of confetti. (Seriously though, I loved that confetti).
I could have done with less of the slapstick stepsisters characters, danced by male dancers in dresses. It just wasn't that funny and grew tiresome pretty quickly. I also didn't really like the ball corps scenes so much, although I can't put my finger on why.
Dance critic Alastair Macaulay of the New York Times loves this production so much that he is going to see all eight shows of it this week. I wouldn't go so far as to do that, but it really was an enjoyable and beautiful production.