She broke a heart when she left behind one little glass slipper.
Originally a French folk tale, Cinderella has seen many transformations over the centuries, from the many books and operas written, to pantomimes, the classic Disney animated film, and another cinematic version, starring Amanda Seyfried, that is set to screen in 2013.
And then there’s the ballet.
Since the end of the 19th century, dancers have interpreted the story of the young girl, raised by her evil stepmother and bullied by her ugly stepsisters, who goes to the king’s ball thanks to some divine intervention from her fairy-godmother. The most famous of which is Soluschka or Cinderella, written in 1945 by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.
Locals are about to see another dance interpretation of Cinderella when Ballet Victoria brings the enchanting story to the stage at the Vernon Performing Arts Centre, Jan. 14.
The ballet is based on the popular book written by Charles Perrault in 1697, which introduced the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the glass slipper.
Set to Prokofiev’s celebrated music, and suitable for all ages, Cinderella is the third of five dance shows in the Performing Arts Centre society’s 2011/2012 dance series. It uses the original synopsis of Perrault’s fairy tale, however, it is set in Victoria, circa 1920s, and has the feel of an old black and white film, said Ballet Victoria’s artistic director Paul Destrooper, who has choreographed the production which Ballet Victoria originally staged two years ago.
“I chose to do Cinderella this season again because audiences connected with the work and it offered something else to the public besides The Nutcracker,” he said. “Cinderella holds many components that I feel kinship to, beautiful music for challenging dancing, lots of drama to create emotional connections with the public, as well as undeniable potential for humour.”
Destrooper, who founded Ballet Victoria in 2002, also has an affinity for Prokofiev’s score.
“I really enjoy his work as it has stunning lyricism as well as a very contemporary flair,” he said. “His music was very much beyond its time and offers challenging musicality as well as incredible melodies and rhythms.”
Beyond the music, the classic fairy tale also drew Destrooper with its magical elements, universal archetypes, and theme of good overcoming evil.
And, of course, it is also a great love story!
The plot of Ballet Victoria’s version revolves around a film premiere and a ball hosted by a famous prince/movie star.
All the city’s aspiring actresses dream of attending the event, which has an original twist as it features guests from many fairy tales, including Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Alice, Puss and Boots, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.
The audience is taken to foreign lands and back with the dramatic quest that the prince undertakes to find the owner of the magic slipper, said Destrooper.
“I enjoy connecting people with a story and taking them on a journey that will cross many emotions, some light, some dark. But in the end, there has to be an uplifting note in the program,” he said.
No small feat, Ballet Victoria is touring with 17 dancers –– 12 company members and four-to-five professionals from its school. In addition, two young local dancers, still to be determined, are joining the production as mice.
“Cinderella is one of our biggest shows, although the sets are minimal,” said Destrooper, adding he hopes his version will create new memories for audiences who grew up with the story.
“I hope to tap into their past experience and bring them back to the surface with delight or creating new ones that they will cherish with their family and friends.”
To welcome Ballet Victoria’s presentation of Cinderella, the Performing Arts Centre’s new dance outreach worker, Jackie Faulkner, has organized a promotion for children called Cinderella Tea Time.
Designed for children ages five to 10 (although all ages are welcome), the centre is hosting a fancy tea, where participants can meet a Ballet Victoria ballerina, and listen to a reading of the Cinderella story. The event takes place Jan. 14 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the centre’s main foyer. Cost is $2 per child and adult accompaniment is required.
Those wishing to sign their children up for the event can e-mail Faulkner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ballet Victoria’s Cinderella takes the main stage at the Performing Arts Centre, Saturday, Jan. 14 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30/adult, $27/senior, $25/student, $5/eyeGO and $23/Members Plus at the Ticket Seller box office, 549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.