A fairy-tale classic; reengineered to fit the pointe shoe. Cinderella, presented by Colorado Ballet, transports us into a ravishing, delightful, hilarious, and joyful realm. Seriously, I couldn’t stop smiling during this entire show! Every act, every minute, every second, you couldn’t look away, as there was something to awe over for the duration of the entire performance. I speak for the audience, and the dancers when I say: When your time is limited, you use up every moment you can, enjoy it, be in it, believe in it… all the way up until the clock strikes 12. Or at least in the running weekends of March 10th-12th, and March 17th-19th!
The sets on stage perfectly transport us into the nostalgic and wistful-themed world of Cinderella we all know and love. Cinderella’s cottage gave us a realistic feel, from the dusty fireplace, hanging pots and pans, kettles, and wooden cutlery, to the curved and sturdy wood of the roof, and the moonlight leaking into the kitchen through the windows. The transitions into the whimsical forest were flawless, like a force carrying Cinderella away from her sorrow, and into the magic she deserves, taking the audience with her. We have our fairy Godmother to thank for that! The lighting was limitless, with constant changes to suit the seasons being displayed. Pink for Spring, yellow for Summer, orange for Autumn, leaves falling from the trees, and white with hues of pale blue for winter, with snowflakes sprinkling the stage. The castle had several hanging chandeliers, and velvet drapes hanging from the walls of the ballroom. Incredibly enchanting settings, but that’s barely scratching the service!
Costumes displayed the brightness and animation of every character on stage. The ensemble at the ball matched one another with purple, red, and gold, royal colors of loyalty to the kingdom, waltzing in unison. Court Jester wore a yellow and red plaid suit, paired with his loud jumps, sharp turns, and force in his quick floorwork. To match the obnoxious and egoic nature of the stepsisters, they wore beaming warm colors and patterns, with lots of frills to take up space. As they dance, it proves to be clumsy, messy, and, quite literally, ground-shaking, tripping one another to throw the other off and thrashing about, losing control of their own momentum. But boy was it ever entertaining, lots of howls of laughter from the audience.
Despite Cinderella dressing in gray and worn-down rags for more than half the show, her kind and gracious demeanor always shined through. Even in vulnerable moments when her sisters are ‘comically’ bullying her, when her stepmother is striking her, and when she is left behind as the rest of her family departs for the ball, her heart remains pure, and because of this, she triumphs. When she dances in the kitchen alone with the broom, she demonstrates keeping her spirits high and her heart open. Even when she is interrupted by her demanding sisters to keep on working, she never stops dancing for joy. She is consistent in her altruistic practice, selflessly giving to others to lift their spirits too. And in return, the angelic fairy Godmother blesses her by the forces of fairies and dragonflies with a one-way ticket to the ball. Her quick-change transformation takes place on stage, revealing a glimmering pink tutu, with little pink flowers blooming all over. Her pointe shoes are replaced with bedazzled ones for the glass slippers. She even had a transparent pink flowery cape and a gorgeous crown, embodying a real princess. Cinderella’s dancing at the ball included quick and effortless footwork, stealing the eyes of everyone on stage and throughout the audience. We also feel the love between her and the prince when they dance together, taking flight literally with one another. Just like the flowers on Cinderella’s dress, it was like witnessing love come into full bloom, a new life is created, and a new opportunity being presented, showing Cinderella that dreams do in fact come true. And the best part, Cinderella and the prince were beaming on stage when they danced together. But as we all know, Cinderella runs away from the prince when the clock hits midnight, and the magical spell breaks, accidentally leaving one of the slippers behind, as the only evidence of her true identity.
In the end, the prince shows up at the cottage with the slipper left behind in search of his lover who had fled from him the night before. During Cinderella’s embarrassment to be seen by the prince in rags, her stepsisters keenly try on the slipper… or try their very best to make it fit, cramping their large feet into the tiny shoe for a shot at romance with the prince. After best efforts, Cinderella is called to try the slipper on. When the sisters try to distract the prince, Cinderella reveals the other slipper, reuniting her and the prince once again. As the sisters plea with disappointment, Cinderella still shows mercy and kindness to her abusive stepfamily, kissing them on the cheeks for a humble departure. The fairy Godmother and fairies reveal themselves again, affirming they were working together in an effort to reunite the two lovers, and they dance in celebration, as Cinderella and the prince dance tenderly in the intrinsic forest, with a classic feel-good fairytale score. Many warm exchanges between the two in the night, and the happily ever after Cinderella deserves.
The purity of Cinderella was genuine and real. Stage effects, costumes, the orchestra, and especially the hard-working dancers transformed this well-known story into something so magical. We are reminded that good things will always come as long as you, yourself, are as good as you can be, no matter your circumstance. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience for all ages. Put on a beautiful gown, and let the dancers take you into a world where anything and everything is possible! Congratulations to our amazing dancers for their tireless efforts, and to the entire team at Colorado Ballet for bringing such a beautiful story to the Ellie Caulkins stage.
Lillian Carter is a 23-year-old Dance Major at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She serves the Dance Department as a Work-Study student employee. Growing up in Denver, she was exposed to many art forms at an early age. Dancing has been her lifelong dream since she was 3, however, due to a series of unfortunate circumstances and financial hardship, was never able to obtain proper dance training growing up. Finding herself in Rogers AR when she was 16, she joined Arkansas Public Theatre as a musical theatre Ensemble-member, where she received theatre, jazz, tap dance, and vocal training. She moved back to Denver in 2020, attending drop-in ballet and hip-hop classes here and there while working full-time in food service. In the fall of 2021, she decided to attend MSU Denver to further her dance education and finally receive consistent dance training. She is also an evening dance instructor at Dancin’ Dreams in Park Hill. She will continue to expand her dance knowledge and is thrilled to broaden her horizons and experience with MSU Denver, Denver Center for Performing Arts, Dancin’ Dreams, and Presenting Denver.