(By: Hilary Punchard)
The National Ballet of Canada’s production of Cinderella was a success, their performances exceeding the long awaited hype.
Cinderella is a Disney classic, setting a high standard for the performance. Some people who attended the show dressed in typical black dresses with their pashminas, while others dressed in pink tutus and tiaras like their favourite princess Cinderella.
Not only was it a classic that we all grew up watching, but aesthetically, it was perfect. The set design looked as if The Great Gatsby met Alice in Wonderland. Each scene was filled with vibrant colours and shapes that were larger than life. The various sets added depth to the plot and to the ballet that was being performed.
The ballroom scene, where Prince Charming is looking for a princess, included the best stage design. The stage was decorated by brightly-coloured art decor and lanterns hanging across the stage. A large moon was painted against the inky sky, setting an enchanting tone before Cinderella floated down in her pumpkin carriage.
The most noteworthy performance was by Guillaume Côte who played Prince Charming. Not only did his dancing emulate royalty for this role, but he added an emotional essence to the scene as well. When watching the ballet, you believe in Charming’s love for Cinderella. You compare his shy nature when he first met her to his desperation to find her again near the end. Côte’s role gives hope for the existence of real-life Disney princes. His character was so genuine that it complemented his dancing beautifully, making him stand out among the cast.
Cinderella’s two stepsisters also stole the show from Cinderella, making the crowd laugh every time they hit the stage.The two sisters also perfectly matched their mother – the stepmother resembled a 1920s Cruella de Vil and was always pulling out a flask or a martini glass. The stepfamily as a whole made the ballet worth watching.
James Kudelka’s choreography changed the cinematic beauty of Cinderella into a production that is adored by audiences. His attention to detail for every move truly demonstrated how much effort he had put into the production.
One thing I loved about the show is that it is enjoyable for people who aren’t necessarily ballet fanatics. For instance, if you love fashion, the show allows you to focus on the different designs and fabrics that were created specially to flow with each dancer’s movements. If you like music, you are able to watch how an entire orchestra plays as the ballerinas move to each accelerando and finish on the conductor’s codas. The show also appeals to those who are into design as it allows you to look for all the tiny details that directors have added in the buildings, lights and set pieces which add to the plot of the show.
A ballet is about more than just dance. It is a mixture of art and the passion for perfection. Once you start to love the components that go into the production, you will find yourself loving the actual ballet as well.
Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage in the National Ballet of Canada’s production of Cinderella (Courtesy: The National Ballet of Canada).
The National Ballet of Canada’s production of Cinderella ran from Nov.12 to 20.