Magazine article Dance Magazine

La Cenicienta

Magazine article Dance Magazine

La Cenicienta

Article excerpt

In addition to being one of the most radiant and beloved of our century's ballerinas, Alicia Alonso is a woman of rare physical courage. It is an inspiration to be in her presence.

And how about Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she founded and still directs? Much care goes into the training of its dancers. The women have a serenely feminine port de bras, and they shape their technical passages with modesty and accuracy. The men, too, have a certain modesty. It contrasts effectively with their clan, especially in air work. Unfortunately, these attractive performers were enmeshed in a production of La Cenicienta ("Cinderella") that missed on virtually every front.

Perhaps with children in mind, it was a rather small-scaled version. The sets by Armin Heinemann resembled juvenile book illustrations. This would have been more appropriate if the costumes had been simpler in line and less vitriolic in color.

Composer Johann Strauss II created the score, but he died before completing the orchestration. It was entrusted to Joseph Bayer, and sounded more like Bayer than Strauss. In addition, the sparsely instrumented tape used instead of live music did not offer much support to the choreography by Pedro Consuegra.

His dance designs also lacked integrity of structure. There were bravura sallies like Cinderella's repeated, ear-high developpes swinging into attitudes en tournant and the Prince's sunburst of grandes pirouettes. But they usually appeared out of context. Even more devoid of style--and stylishness--were the character variations, especially the plodding Hungarian czardas for the Russians and the polka accompanied by castanets for the Spaniards.

During the ballet's brief season, the roles of Cinderella and her Prince were entrusted to five different couples. I opted for the performances featuring principal dancers Lorna Feijoo and Oscar Torrado, Galina Alvarez and victor Gili, and Alihaydee Carreno and Osmay Molina. …

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