Philadelphia Ballet opens its 2022-2023 season with Ben Stevenson’s Cinderella. The production is dazzling and powerful, it may ALMOST let you believe in a fairytale.
Sergei Prokofiev’s bewitching overture fills the theater and carries the audience into the story. Premiered in 1970 by National Ballet of Washington, D.C, the storyline of the production is conservative and simple. However, the choreography, the dancers, and the staging are whimsical and avant-garde.
Sydney Dolan performed the title role of the opening night performance with Sterling Baca as her Prince. Her Cinderella was elegant and exactly what one would imagine from a term “ballerina.” She also has a talent to captivate the audience and is eloquent to narrate Cinderella’s emotions and story in each moment.
Dayesi Torriente is sublime in her role of Fairy Godmother. She surely convinced the younger audiences that the magic truly exists. Kathryn Manger, Thays Golz, Lucia Erickson and So Jung Shin performed Fairies of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The roles that require the utmost techniques. Not only were they flawless in every pas, they were dreamy enough to remind me of the impressionist paintings.
The key elements of the production are the comic scenes featuring Cinderella’s Step Sisters and a Jester. Russel Ducker and Yuval Cohen’s performances as the Step Sisters raises the production from fine to brilliant. Dancing so perfectly awkwardly can be done only by accomplished dancers. While getting all the giggles from the audiences, they jump so high that they momentarily pose in the air in crazy and funniest positions. They also added vivid emotions such as jealousy towards Ciderella being loved by their father, which helps to make the characters more lovable than just being nasty as a nature. Ashton Roxander (Jester) may have received the most applause of the evening. It is exciting to see a dancer get greater and more refined on every performance.
[Academy of Music, 240 S. Broad Street] October 13-23, 2022; philadelphiaballet.org