Update from the Executive Director Arturo Jacobus: Ratmansky’s Cinderella
As promised in my last blog post, I want to give my account of the Mariinsky Ballet performance of Cinderella, with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, on Saturday, October 20th.
First, the setting of the classic story was completely unexpected. For some reason, although I felt the choreography would be fresh, I was unprepared for the modern, almost contemporary-industrial, look of the sets in the first act and, like-wise, the unconventional, almost punkish, costumes. The choreography was indeed fresh. Remember, I admitted that I had yet to see any work by Ratmansky and was most anxious to remedy that with my trip to Washington, D.C. In his Cinderella, I did indeed see movement that was creative and new. For me, Ratmansky's ability to expand upon the classical vocabulary with innovative movement, but maintain the core of classic discipline was refreshing. The one thing I found a little disconcerting though, perhaps because of my unfamiliarity with his work, was the way he would develop a sequence, build toward a climactic moment, and then seemingly abandon what was expected to be a classic climax or high point, only to completely change direction into something more playful and contemporary. The ballroom scene was a much more classic palace setting, while the dancing continued to be that same mixture of ballet and modern movement. Overall, while the first act was quite slow, by the end of the evening the audience was completely enraptured and rewarded the performance with a huge ovation. The dancing, by the way, was of course exquisite.