Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Cinderella with 12 Dwarfs, New Sets and a New Carriage

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

A Cinderella with 12 Dwarfs, New Sets and a New Carriage

Article excerpt

There are as many "Cinderellas" as there are snowflakes in a blizzard -- and each one as distinct from the other.

There's the Disney "Cinderella" and the Rodgers & Hammerstein "Cinderella." There are movies like "Ella Enchanted" and "A Cinderella Story." There's the archetypal 1697 telling by Charles Perrault, as well as alternate versions by the Brothers Grimm, and a Chinese version that supposedly dates back to 860 A.D. There are versions that feature gold slippers instead of glass slippers, a wicked stepfather instead of a wicked stepmother, a magic tree or fish instead of a fairy godmother. One version, Rossini's 1817 opera "La Cenerentola," dispenses with the magic altogether.

The 1945 ballet by Sergei Prokofiev has its own innovations. Fairies of spring, summer, autumn and winter assist the fairy godmother in her pumpkin-transforming, slipper-making activities. And 12 dwarfs now have the job of warning Cinderella that the witching hour of midnight has arrived.

Great music

But the main thing that Prokofiev, the celebrated Russian composer of "Lieutenant Kije," "The Love for Three Oranges," "Romeo and Juliet" and "Peter and the Wolf," brought to the table is great music. The memorably dark-toned, sensuous waltz music at the ball is enough to dispel any notion that "Cinderella" is mere kid's stuff.

"It's very beautiful music, and the choreography was done very well to the music," says Carolyn Clark, co-founder and director of the 58-year-old Livingston-based New Jersey Ballet, which is bringing its specially tailored, kid-friendly edition to Englewood's bergenPAC on Sunday.

This version, abridged to an hour (the music is prerecorded), features narration to help make the story clear. And the 12 dwarfs - "tick-tocks," they're called - who announce the hours are all played by kids from the affiliated New Jersey School of Ballet. One thing kids like seeing onstage is kids.

"That's always a very popular part of the ballet," Clark says. "Children who go backstage always want to know how they can get in the production. …

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