I had very mixed feelings about this ballet. There were moments that took my breath away, a unique movement, and hilarious facial expression, or a musical moment that perfectly complimented the story, but unfortunately, these just didn’t seem to add up to an overall great show.
Why do choreographers feel the need to use projection? It’s not magical, it’s not clever, and it rarely looks anything except cheap and tacky. I’ve yet to see a dance production that really integrates projection sucessfully into the design and style of the piece. In the case of Cinderella, childish cartoon-like images of trees passing the stage in a loop motion were used to explain that the Prince was traveling. Really?! I swear when I walked into the theatre it was 2013.
Let’s be honest, this story really centers around a shoe. The shoes that Cinderella gets given by the fairy Godmother are exciting and marvellous. But in this production, the fairy Godmother (in a strange, Mary Poppins-like disguise) gives Cinderella a slightly-more-interesting-dress than-her-rags. That’s it. She just wears her everyday pointe shoes that she’s been wearing the whole time. OK, she has to keep dancing, but shouldn’t we try to at least acknowledge the shoes? The pivotal point in the story?
So when the prince, at the end of the ball scene, runs to the front of the stage holding a silver, sparkly stiletto pump, one can hardly be blamed for thinking that it wasn’t Cinderella’s shoe, BECAUSE SHE WAS NEVER WEARING IT! WE’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE! Does anyone else see a major problem with the clarity of this storytelling?
The production had fleeting moments of glamour, luxury and beauty, but many of the decisions I found to simply be different for the sake of being different. Not a lot of meat on the bones unfortunately. All issues with the direction and design aside, the dancers of the Australian Ballet really did a beautiful job. They are dancing so well at the moment. It’s OK. I still love you Australian Ballet.