English National Ballet are now celebrating their 60th year. Far from showing signs of aging, the dance company continue to prosper, their production of the most famous ‘rags to riches’ story being as impressive and spectacular as ever!
Cinderella tells the story of a young orphan girl who lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Dressed in rags, she is forced to do all the cleaning, whilst her step family cruelly tease her and show off their prosperity. When they are invited to a royal ball, the stepsisters do everything in their power to impress the Prince. However, with the help of a Fairy Godmother, a midnight strike and a lost slipper, it is ultimately the loveable protagonist who is rewarded with true love’s kiss...
The ensemble narrate the tale beautifully, their every arm line, gesture and movement overflowing with meaning. When the whole cast dance together it is truly magical; imaginative lifts, breathtaking pointe work and fabulous costumes dazzling the audience.
There are moments when two pas-de-deux’s would have been as satisfactory as four, and some segments of choreography could have been repeated less. However, when watching any ballet you need to come with the expectation that it is going to be lengthy. As much as every little girl may love to dream of being Cinderella, this three hour fairytale is best appreciated by adults.
Unlike in the Disney adaptation, Cinderella’s stepsisters are definitely not ugly. Yet, they hold the same comic value, their clumsy pirouettes and jealous facial expressions frequently producing laughter. Adela Ramirez and Laura Brunas’ rapport, as well as their ability to impress when trying to dance ‘badly’, is one not to be missed.
Equally, other lead roles, including The Prince (Dmitri Gruzdyev) and The Fairy Godmother (Desiree Ballantyne) dance sensationally, especially when alongside the leading lady.
Erina Takahashi (Cinderella) is an absolute dream, showing so much control and flexibility. Her many solos are captivating and versatile, the dancer having a playfulness and a seriousness that is just perfect for the role.
As well as the dancing, there is Prokofiev’s complimentary live music and a stunning set, designed by David Walker, which make the piece even more special and prove just why ENB are at the very top of their game.
Although it may be about Cinders, Michael Corder’s award-winning classic is undoubtedly on fire...