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The magic of Cinderella

Published on

So as we head into April, Cinderella is the flavour of the month with tours to Hull New Theatre and Cardiff New Theatre over the next two weeks.

Our new adaptation of this wonderful fairytale premièred in Leeds in December, but this winter-wonderland of a production is just as magical now as it was over the festive period.

Set in Imperial Russia, the scene is created by the clever use iconicly Russian costumes and sets, and music which utilises Russian folk instruments. The women wear elaborately decorated brocade dresses with fur trim and fur hats, whilst the men sport beautifully embroidered velvet jackets and long boots, and the female servants wear babushkas (head scarves) - all take inspiration from the typical dress of the period.

David Nixon's Cinderella. Photo Bill Cooper

Duncan Hayler's sets are as ingenious as ever, starting out in a colourful meadow at the beginning of the ballet and by the end we have been to a Russian market complete with dancing bear, Cinderella's kitchen and drawing room, the Prince's palace and the crystal lake. Cinderella has one of the most challenging sets ever used in any Northern Ballet production (take a look at this video from our Technical team) but it all comes together to stunning effect. In particular is the way that Cinderella finds her transportation to the ball - I won't give anything away but I will say that it induces a collective gasp of delight from the audience.

The choreography and quality of performance is world-class (would you expect anything less of us?) but the dancers' skills don't just stop at pirouettes. We collaborated with the magician Richard Pinner, and Greentop Circus, to teach our dancers magic, acrobatic and circus skills which are put to use at key points throughout the performance. Indeed Cinderella's 'Fairy Godmother' is not a fairy at all but a kindly Magician who she meets at the market. You'll see delightful slight-of-hand tricks, juggling (on stilts no less!) and acrobatics that really make you appreciate how physically strong the dancers are.

The most magical scene for me has to be the crystal lake where Cinderella goes to escape the drudgery of her daily life. The dancers float and skid across the floor as if ice-skating, and complete with the music, the overall picture is glittering and lovely.

The setting for the story is fresh and new but the narrative and characters that we know and love from the traditional story are all still present. The Step-sisters (not ugly!) are playful and mischievous, Cinderella is vulnerable, yet joyful and kind, and the Prince is regal, however my favourite character has to be the Step-mother. She's deliciously wicked and you can't help but like her despite her cruelty towards our heroine.

Overall, this ballet has a magical, fun, family feel to it and I guarantee you'll leave the theatre with a smile on your face.

Cinderella will be touring to Hull, opening on 2 April, before heading off to Cardiff the following week. There are still tickets available so make sure you book to see this beautiful new ballet on its first ever UK tour.

Martha Leebolt as Cinderella and Tobias Batley as Prince Mikhail in David Nixon's Cinderella. Photo Bill Cooper

Communications Manager

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.