If The Pointe Shoe Fits
You Shall Go To The Ball
I've been a little, actually a lot, despondent about ballet recently. I'm not sure if it's because I seem to have plateaued and am making zero progress, or because we have been dancing to the exact same ballet music for 4 years straight, or because my life is just too stressful to enjoy dancing any more. I ordered some new leotards to see if that could muster some enthusiasm, but so far it's a month later and they still haven't arrived. Nothing has happened with Danseuse for ages either, so that's in limbo. Maybe it's all of these things maybe it's none of these things but whatever the reason, I don't have the same excitement I once had.
When Scottish Ballet invited me to go and see their production of Cinderella, I figured that could be just the tonic I needed - seeing my favourite ballet company perform. Nothing inspires a dancer like seeing dance.
So Prince B and I headed to the Theatre Royal to see the spectacle.
We all know the story of Cinderella and it's a fairytale ripe for the telling in the form of ballet. After last Christmas' magical Nutcracker, I was so excited for this one as I knew it'd be every bit as magical, but what I didn't realise was just how funny it'd be!
As a company, Scottish Ballet seem to excel at bringing humour and fun into their productions and with Cinderella the highlight for me was absolutely Eve Mutso and Sophie Martin's portrayal of the stepsisters. It was comedy gold which, given there is no spoken words, really is quite an achievement. Eve in particular is a wonderful character actress and whatever role she takes on, she very clearly is emotionally invested in that role, as well as physically.
What a ballet like Cinderella does is transport adults into a magical world we only really ever get to experience as a child - a world of glitter, colour, fantasy and joy.
The role of Cinderella was performed by Bethany Kingsley-Garner. This is the first I have seen Bethany perform a lead role and she makes a wonderful Cinderella. As a dancer, what I really liked about her was how technically correct she was, and by that I mean she is never tempted to indulge in exaggerated extensions or an overly winged foot - her lines are exactly as they should be, long, clean and unbroken. I love seeing 180 degree extensions as much as the next person, but sometimes I do feel is gets a little vulgar, for lack of a better word. As a ballet lover I absorb inspirational images of the wonderful Russian ballerinas of our time, but somewhere in the throng of hyper flexibility we seem to have lost the appreciation of a simple but perfectly formed 90 degree arabesque, so it was lovely to see that again.
The Prince was performed by Christopher Harrison, who was utterly charming. He had a couple of wee minor stumbles, and at one point I thought he was going to drop Bethany during a lift, but he recovered it with grace and poise and Bethany kept smiling. As a pairing, the two dancers were perfectly matched as Cinderella and her Prince.
The set was breathtaking and looked very art nouveau. The rose motif featured heavily throughout and is perhaps even a nod to Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Scottish Ballet may be a small company but they sure know how to make a big impact.