A Haunting Interpretation of Cinderella

When you go to a ballet and it starts out with a death scene, a graveyard and a magical tree, you know you are in for something different. Last night I went to see the San Francisco Ballet’s production of, “Cinderella” and surprisingly enough, I am now blogging about it as part of my Halloween Countdown. Although this run at The Kennedy Center ends this Sunday, October 30th, if you find yourself with the spare time, I definitely recommend grabbing some tickets.

I’m sure we’re all aware of the fairy tale of Cinderella, made popular by Disney, but this rendition although definitely magical, is at times spooky and mysterious. This ballet incorporates some truly magnificent costumes, complete with oversized heads, trailing fingernails, a full suit of armor, and creepy masked figures. Some might think this show depicts a nightmare, however it is all because of magic. One of my favorite parts of the show was a rainbow created out of floating chairs. If my chairs ever floated up to the rafters, I’d be scared out of my mind. But in this production, the somewhat randomly flying chairs seem to be in lieu of a scene change to clear off the furniture. Whatever the reason for the ghostly appearance, it becomes quite the spectacle.

Nightmarish, indeed.
Cinderella (at right) looks quite distressed, unsurprisingly.

In addition to the at times, spooky scenery and costumes, the musical score written by Sergei Prokofiev also reflects the eerie tale. Some of the melodies reminded me of something you might hear in a “Harry Potter” movie, which adds to the magical feeling and aura of mystique. I also enjoyed Christopher Wheeldon’s choreography of intertwining twirling and unpredictable “cheerleader” like lines of movement.  I was impressed with how well the story was told through dance at times, bits of humor like the drunken dance by the stepmother and the prince as a child scheming with his friend.

As much as this is a “happily ever after” tale, this production will not let you forget how twisted and dark the story is. A great lead-up to Halloween, this story of a tossed aside slave girl who finds love in unexpectedly, is one that might just haunt your dreams.  Bet you would never think to “beware of Cinderella,” but for this ballet, you might be thankful you did.

Halloween Countdown: 3 days!



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