TEEN AMBASSADOR: ABBEY BRANCO | MAY 6, 2016
I have grown up being infatuated with the ballet. The twists and turns, the elegant costumes and makeup. Everything that ballerinas and danseurs embodied, I yearned to become. While my own dancing days lasted for a month at age thirteen, a small part of my heart was left standing in the meticulous and methodical artform forevermore. When the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center proclaimed that A Columbia Artists Production would be leading the Moscow Festival Ballet’s production of Cinderella, I knew that I would not only enjoy the performance, but lose myself in the movement of the professionals.
Artistic Director, Sergei Radchenko’s vision was clear from the start of the show. Classical music booms overhead, shaking the dancefloor and settling on a single performer. Cinderella is clad in her usual gear of rags and a broom. She dances with her (ugly) step-sisters in a pleading manner as they squabble and toss away their scraps for her to tend to. They pirouette around her, teasing her, showing her that who she is now is who she’ll be forever under their roof. The stepmother is no different in her domineering and ghastly composure as she both separates her biological daughters and scolds the one by marriage.
In comparison to the classic tale from the Brother’s Grimm, there are some differences. Where Cinderella originally had one sole Fairy Godmother, in Radchenko’s version, the Fairy Godmother is accompanied by the four seasons and preceded by Time himself. They showcase their talents to Cinderella in order to carry out her story and tell the audience that her taste of high society may be a temporary one but it is indeed something she will have to enjoy.
The mystifying nature of ballet is in the talents of each dance and solo. Choreographer, Rostislav Zakharov, is a prominent force for the performers introduction on stage. Whether they are pretending to be from differing continents coming together to celebrate the Prince’s Ball or embodying Nature, they have the ability to tell that story entirely through arabesques and grande jetes. We feel empathy for Cinderella in her tumultuous ride to royalty. We have the ability to be angry for her when she is mistreated by those who are supposed to be supporting her. We ache for her to break free from such a debased state that we forget that she hasn’t even uttered a single word. Ballet takes us to that space of our minds that helps us escape and uncover the most primal of emotions.
Ballet will continue to affect me in ways that most classic artists can. Centuries ago crowds had gathered to appreciate such an art and when we make the conscious decision to go out and see those art forms again, we connect through generations past and yet to come. As the Teen Ambassador season has come to a close, I will look back on this last show and know deep in my heart, it was a bittersweet end.