Arts, OldVenue

Review: Northern Ballet’s Cinderella

Romance, magic and amazing spectacle sound like your sort of thing? In which case David Nixon’s spellbinding interpretation of Cinderella will be perfect for you.

Set in Imperial Russia, Northern Ballet’s adaptation of this favourite fairy-tale proves to be much more than simply a dance show. With everything from dazzling costumes, inspiring choreography to magic tricks, this show certainly has something for everyone.

To start, the play begins with a privileged adolescent Cinderella joyously dancing in front of a bed of golden sunflowers. The rich red, brown and yellow costumes of the dancers adds to the magical feel of autumn created. Yet this happiness is short-lived for Cinderella as her father is shot when retrieving her shawl – making Cinderella partially responsible for his death and therefore an ideal target for her stepmother’s cruelty.

From this point on, Cinderella loses all the happiness of her former life, as she is dressed in servant’s clothes and made to wait on her step-family. The anguish Cinderella feels is beautifully expressed through dance, where the gracefulness of her movements and the determination with which she pirouettes enable the audience to feel sympathy for her predicament.

However, Cinderella is able to escape the drudgery of her home life through her occasional visits to a winter fair. Indeed, through the sleek set change, we are transported from a dark and dingy kitchen – Cinderella’s personal prison – to a dazzling snowy market, crowded with everything from acrobats, bear tamers, clowns on stilts to magicians. Indeed the tight choreography of the dancers, combined with the use of magic tricks is a sight for the audience to behold. It is here that Cinderella spies the prince for the first time since their meeting many years ago and the audience is given a taste of the romance that is to come.

Yet Cinderella is unceremoniously brought back to reality by her evil stepmother who refuses to let her go to the ball with her stepsisters. Cinderella is far from helpless, however, as soon after she receives a mysterious guest in the form of the magician she met at the market. Indeed, it seems Cinderella will go to the ball as the exotic conjurer produces huskies, a stunning silver dress and a sleigh which lights up with the words ‘Cinders’. This is by far the most magical and magnificent scene, which leaves the audience wondering how such magic is created.

The second act continues to showcase Nixon’s amazing choreography, as the gracefulness of the solely female, then male dances make way for the show-stopping dance of Cinderella and the prince. Indeed the opulence of the ballroom setting, with its glittering chandeliers and snowflakes is dazzling for the audience and as Cinderella and the prince perform the snowy finale, the audience is left wanting even more magic.


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March 2021
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