Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella
The malevolent characters in Christopher Wheeldon’s ballets get the best jokes. In his Alice in Wonderland, which was in 2011 the Royal Ballet’s first new full-length ballet in 16 years, a romantically-deluded Queen of Hearts staggers her way through an homage to Sleeping Beauty’s Rose Adagio. In his new Cinderella, you know which characters have bad breath by the way others dance around them. For some critics, this is so much “schoolboy humor”, though Wheeldon’s reworking of the story, set to Prokofiev’s score, has been praised as “the most dramatically convincing Cinderella in ballet.” In his version, created for San Francisco ballet, both Cinderella and the Prince are given convincing backstories, and there is no fairy godmother. She is replaced by a dancing tree that grants her wishes, designed by the puppeteer Basil Twist.
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