Northern Ballet's Cinderella is a pre-Christmas treat
Northern Ballet have arrived in town to give Sheffield a sumptuous pre-Christmas treat. The company is celebrating its 50th birthday this year, and what better way to celebrate than by reviving David Nixon’s version of the rags to riches fairy story. Over those five decades successive artistic directors have put their own take on Cinderella, but this version is not just a feast for the eye, but an assault on all the senses.
Setting the production in Imperial Russia gives unlimited scope for an array of national dance styles, luscious costumes and dazzling sets. With a new score by Philip Feeney this version also proposes a reason why stepmother and stepsisters treat Cinderella as a slave.
This is no pantomime, but the transformation scene is astonishing as the kitchen furniture becomes an illuminated sleigh, and fur coats turn into husky-style dogs.
With a magician substituting for a fairy godmother it provides an excuse for circus trickery and an array of acts from tumblers to a stilt-walker (Sheffield’s Greentop Circus get a credit).
But what of the dancing? Abigail Prudames is no stranger to the role and her experience shows, and partnering her as the Prince is the athletic Joseph Taylor. Their final duet is as emotionally charged as it is elegant.
But like most Northern Ballet productions, a full stage of dancers provides the spectacle. And the Crystal Lake scene is so skilled that you really do feel they are skating on ice. Alan Powell