All the storybook fantasy you know and love, with a surprising touch of Surrealist style. Step into the glittering, glamorous world of Alexei Ratmansky’s Cinderella, with its hilarious stepsisters, dashing prince and spirited heroine. A heart-fluttering romance that’s the perfect fit for a cosy night in.
Starring Lana Jones and Daniel Gaudiello, this production was filmed in 2016 at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Let’s go to the ball! You’re about to watch Cinderella … turn the lights down low, put on something luxe, prepare a drink of something lovely and, before the curtain goes up, skim through this viewing guide for a bit of background, some moments to watch out for and some fun facts. Here’s one to start things off – did you know that the famous 32 fouettés, the series of flashing turns seen in iconic ballet moments like the Black Swan Pas de deux, were originally performed by the Italian ballerina Pierina Legnani in the 1893 version of Cinderella?
The Australian Ballet is very proud of this production of Cinderella, created especially for their company in 2013 by hot property Alexei Ratmansky – so proud that they’ve taken it all around Australia and the world. Ratmansky was the director of Bolshoi Ballet and is currently artist in residence at American Ballet Theatre. Companies around the world vye to have him choreograph works for them. Why? Because he has an almost unique ability to build on the centuries-old tradition of the classical story ballet while speaking in a fresh and accessible voice to modern audiences.
His version of Cinderella follows the familiar fairytale. You might be less familiar with the section where the Prince searches throughout the world for his lost love. It’s a one-liner in the fairytale, but in the original Russian versions of the ballet, it was fleshed out so they could have lots of exotic dances representing the different countries the Prince visits. Ratmansky takes up this tradition – and makes it highly sensual.
Ratmansky’s choreography may look flowing and effortless from the audience, but it’s full of unusual challenges. When dancers talk about Ratmansky’s choreography, one word comes up over and over: ‘body’. In ballet parlance, this means taking steps to their fullest expression: bending at the waist, going right down to the floor, using your lateral space. Ratmansky always asks for more and then more body. He also fills each musical phrase with a flurry of steps in unusual combinations; the dancers need both mental and physical agility to keep pace.Watch
Look out for Cinderella and the Prince having ‘conversations’ with their arms and hands as they dance together. They even have a lovers’ tiff during their final pas de deux, which has to be a first in a romantic story ballet!
For the Prince’s first explosive entrance into the ballroom, Ratmansky told the dancers, “I want you coming out like you’re driving a Lamborghini.”
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Credit: The Australian Ballet