sometimes there is good luck and kindness and generosity and so it happened that jacquie and i found ourselves seated in the orchestra section to see ABTs cinderella – for free. so i feel that i shouldn’t complain about anything, and yet….there were so many audience distractions in act 1 i could scarcely believe it! first off, a small child directly behind us was alternately chatting, whining or crying thru most of the first act. now, i am very patient about children, i’m a mom, i totally get it- but this is not the movies or a school play- it’s the metropolitan opera house- and people don’t pay over $100 to listen to whining kids. for goodness sake, if they can’t be quiet have some common courtesy and take them out of the theater. so then, the phone of the guy next to me makes that little “bloop” notification noise and he has to take it out of his pocket, and it lights up and..ugh! granted, he turned it off fairly quickly but it was still distracting! and THEN a woman in the row in front of us has to go pee or something (?) and she’s trying to climb over everyone to get out. of course she gets a bit stuck directly in front of me- right smack in the middle of the fairy godmother’s solo variation (which was danced elegantly by veronika part, what i saw of it anyway). i kind of wanted to scream “WOULD EVERYONE JUST SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!!” but of course i didn’t.
but never mind all that now because frederic ashton’s cinderella was so delightfully magical and enchanting i couldn’t possibly be mad at anything. the music, the costumes, the sets, the lighting, the choreography – i loved all of it!!
hee seo was cinderella for this performance and i can’t imagine anyone being more perfect for it. i have always loved hee but never so much as last night. from her very first develope’ a la seconde you knew she was destined for something much greater than a life in the scullery. she was lovable and warm, exquisitely beautiful and the quality of her movement so refined – just the simple closing of her leg from retire’ to fifth position en pointe took my breath away. her act 2 variation was near perfection – so stunning that when she finished, jacquie and i turned and looked at each other with expressions of joyous disbelief. bliss 🙂
(photo by rosalie o’connor)
the prince was danced by james whiteside and while i quite enjoyed james in le corsaire and symphony in c, i must confess that when thinking of him, “prince” is not necessarily the first royal title that comes to mind. while he danced well and seemed to be a very good partner i want to fall in love with my ballet princes and… well…. james doesn’t really do it for me in that respect. but maybe that’s just me.
the corps de ballet looked FANTASTIC -they were together, their lines and spacing looked great and they were enchanting and beautiful. bravo! the prince’s friends (joseph gorak, blaine hoven, calvin royal and eric tamm) were exceptional in that they were amazingly, beautifully in synch – it was truly something wonderful to behold. and the fairies!! delightful! they (skylar brandt, christine shevchenko, yuriko kajiya and melanie hamrick) were all incredible but my favorite was (once again) skylar brandt as the fairy spring. not only was her technique sharp and impeccable but skylar just has this light that draws me to her. i’m very excited about her future.
i also loved luis ribagorda as the jester – his jumps were looking clean and sharp and he’s got such a magnetic personality. he was great!
and last but certainly not least……craig salstein and roman zhurbin as cinderella’s stepsisters. they were a riot. the stepsister choreography is brilliant to start out with, but i can’t imagine a better interpretation could be given. they were sooo funny and yet absolutely endearing. the way they fed off of each other was pure genius and i adored them. and well….. to be honest i kind of have a crush on roman zhurbin as a girl. make of that what you will. yeah, i don’t get it either but damn, i couldn’t take my eyes off of him! and once he ran that string of pearls across his teeth…..that was it. 😉 anyway, i’m thinking that roman might just make the retirement of julio bragado-young a little easier to take.
(photo by rosalie o’connor)
as a whole, cinderella might be the best thing i’ve seen at ABT this season. how fabulous to see all the dancers so well rehearsed and looking fresh. i was spellbound and mesmerized, each moment more bewitching than the last. i hope ABT will keep this version in the rep for a long time to come – it’s timeless.
ABT is performing cinderella thru june 14th, do yourself a favor and go see it! 😀