By Hayat Gorraine
Cinderella, you shall go to the ball! And, with the arrival of the Russian State Ballet and Siberian Orchestra in Cardiff, on their seventeenth UK tour so can the rest of us!
Performed in St David’s Hall, this age-old romance sees the exploited Cinderella lifted from the depths of despair to a royal happily ever after. Despite the thousands of renditions of this story, Prokofiev’s Cinderella is no less spell-binding, filled with magic and the beautiful message that anything is possible, so long as we hold true to our dreams.
The first act was a flurry of vibrant costumes; bratty step-sisters (a comical duo); and the drab, grey rags of our
leading lady (Elena Svinko), whose poise and grace was bewitching. But, when Cinderella materialised in a flowering white gown, courtesy of a certain spell-weaving godmother, none dared breathe for fear of ruining the moment. As she ensnared the gaze of the prince (Marcello Pelizzoni) and swept across the stage everyone was spellbound.
That being said, it was Sergei Bobrov’s choreography that left the strongest impression. The impeccable lifts coupled with diaphanous costumes, in the pas de deux, made the dancers appear to soar as the other performers boasted their grand jetés and fouetté turns. Truly, there is no question as to why they are one of Russia’s most prestigious dance companies, every movement so artfully calculated according to the composition.
I’ll admit I was sceptical of the whole no dialogue factor but it makes sense when the music is emotion. It is no exaggeration to say that the conductor (Anatoliy Chepurmoy) commanded the audience’s applause as powerfully as the instruments of his talented ensemble. A few raises of his hand and the noise threatened to deafen; then one motion and silence fell immediately . I’m not all too sure the man didn’t possess some powers of sorcery because the crowd was loving it! He practically had to force the starring couple through the closing curtains, for their own well-deserved and raucous round of applause, we were all so fixated.
Rolling to a close at just under two hours, with miniature ice-cream tubs on sale during the reprieve, it seems to me that this corps de ballet have their act down to a T. My only lament is that there wasn’t time to pass the slippered shoe around the balletomanes. Who knows? There might’ve been more than one or two princesses, hiding amongst us. Size five, anyone?