NCDT’s “Cinderella” is romantic delight

Arts / Article

2010 NCDT “Cinderella” Ball Scene. Photo by Peter Zay

The Cinderella story of a lonely servant girl who is persecuted by her mean stepmother and sisters, but eventually marries a handsome prince is ubiquitous around the world. It has variants as far back as ancient Greece, and it appeared in China by the ninth century. Even today this tale of romance and triumph has not lost its luster, as the North Carolina Dance Theatre (NCDT) proved this past weekend with its delightful rendition of Charles Perrault’s story and Sergei Prokofiev’s score.

Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux, Mark Diamond and Michael Vernon collaborated on the choreography, which was filled with tender duets, grand ensemble dances and unique solos, all performed against elaborate sets and bright, fantastical costumes. The ballroom scene at the palace, Act II: Scene I, encapsulated the ballet’s best attributes, from the stepsisters’ ridiculous antics to the highly anticipated first meeting of Cinderella and the Prince. The entire scene was filled with romantic tension as Cinderella and the Prince met, were parted and found each other again, only to be separated by the ominous stroke of midnight conveyed by the “Dance of Hours,” a truly unique interpretation of the clock. Anna Gerberich and Pete Leo Walker fully expressed the characters of Cinderella and the Prince. Gerberich’s bashful grace and joyful innocence radiated from the tilt of her head to her elongated arabesques, while Walker’s effortless leaps and finely turned pirouettes conveyed the Prince’s confidence and allure.

“Cinderella” plays for one more weekend at the Knight Theater: March 14-16, with evening performances on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and matinées on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $85; they can be purchased online or by calling 704-372-1000. Run time is approximately two hours with an intermission. “Cinderella” is recommended for all ages.

*Review based on March 6th performance starring Anna Gerberich and Pete Leo Walker as Cinderella and the Prince. Gerberich and Walker will also perform on 8M, 9M, 14E, 15E.  Sarah Hayes Watson and Addul Manzano will perform as Cinderella and the Prince on March 7E, 8E, 15M, 16M.