Choreography: Victoria Morgan
Music: Sergei Prokofiev
In the kitchen of Cinderella’s house, Cinderella’s stepsisters are embroidering a silk scarf while their mother dotingly looks on and spins wool with the father who is seated at the spinning wheel. Cinderella sits alone scrubbing the floor. The two sisters, being of bad and competitive temperament, begin to quarrel. They are so agitated that the only way their mother can resolve the fight is by tearing the scarf in two. When the sisters and mother leave, Cinderella is alone with her thoughts. She has a brief playful fantasy with a mouse she has placed in a cage. But her duties call and it is time to sweep again. Her lonely thoughts induce memories of her mother. She pulls a painting of her mother from its hiding place and is overcome with longing to be with her again. Cinderella’s father finds her weeping and they comfort each other. The absence of Cinderella’s mother is painful to each in different ways.
Suddenly, in a huff, the sisters rush in to accuse Father of playing favorites with Cinderella. The fury is momentarily halted when an invitation to a very grand ball arrives. The Prince of the land is expected to choose a wife. Panic sets in as the stepmother and sisters try to imagine what they should wear.
The atmosphere changes as mystery and darkness fill the room and a beggar woman appears asking for food. The sisters and stepmother are appalled, but Cinderella is sympathetic and offers the beggar a loaf of bread. Just as mysteriously as the beggar woman appeared, she disappears.
The mood changes instantly when the wardrobe master, jeweler and dance master arrive to prepare the sisters and stepmother for the grand ball. There is much frolicking and excitement as the sisters and mother depart for this imperial event.
Left alone again in her tattered clothes, Cinderella becomes sad as she realizes that she will never be able to attend a beautiful ball like the one her sisters are attending. Wishing she could be at the ball, Cinderella lets herself be carried away by unattainable dreams. In a cloud of mystery the beggar woman again unexpectedly appears. As Cinderella turns to find another loaf of bread, the beggar woman is transformed into a beautiful fairy godmother. She takes Cinderella to a magical land where shining fairies representing each of the seasons bring Cinderella special gifts to prepare her for the ball. Before she leaves for the castle, however, the fairy godmother warns her that she must return exactly at 12 o’clock, or she will turn back into her original state forever. Cinderella, now dressed in a stunning gown with a long train and sparkling glass slippers, is radiant. A pumpkin magically becomes a spectacular carriage and Cinderella is whisked away to the ball of her dreams.
The curtain opens to the ball at the Prince’s castle, an elegant room filled with splendidly dressed courtiers dancing in a stately manner. The stepmother and her two daughters arrive and pathetically try to imitate the courtiers, attracting considerable attention. Two of the Prince’s friends find themselves unlucky enough to be dancing with them.
The Prince appears, greets his guests, and takes a seat on his throne. As the ball continues, there are strains of new, enchanting music. A lovely girl enters. The Prince cannot take his eyes off her. All the men in the court are wondering who she is. No one, not even her family, recognizes who she is. The Prince and Cinderella dance for each other and the court. In gratitude for her beauty, the Prince offers her fresh oranges, a delicacy in that time. The sisters, in their usual state of jealously, see the oranges and demand them for themselves. Somehow in the confusion Cinderella gets escorted away and the Prince suddenly realizes she has disappeared. When they finally find each other they are alone and have a moment to stare into each other’s eyes. When the court reenters, the festivities continue. At the height of the celebration, before Cinderella has had time to contemplate that such an evening could ever end, the clock strikes twelve. As predicted by the fairy godmother, great confusion ensues, the elves emerge from the clock and the entire court is swept into the bewilderment of the fairy godmother’s warning. Cinderella, terrified, flees the castle. She loses one glass slipper as she dashes out. The Prince discovers it and is comforted by the thought that if he can find the woman whose foot fits this glass slipper, he will find his true love.
The next morning Cinderella is sleeping in her usual place in front of the hearth. She awakens slowly and recalls the previous night and wonders….was it just a dream? But when she reaches into her pocket, sure enough, there is a glass slipper, proof that it was not a dream!
The stepsisters enter as they revel about the ball and how popular they were and how the Prince gave them oranges. They, as usual, get into a bickering fight. They stop short when attendants enter to tell them that the Prince is on his way looking for the girl whose foot will fit the glass slipper. When the Prince arrives, both sisters and even the mother try to force the delicate slipper onto their enormous feet. As Cinderella is assisting her sibling, her glass slipper accidentally falls from the pocket of her rags. All is quiet as the Prince recognizes that this girl is indeed the one from the ball. The sisters can hardly believe their eyes. Cinderella tenderly bids them and her father farewell as she leaves with the Prince. Their union is cause for great celebration. The fairy godmother and her special fairies all appear to escort Cinderella and the Prince to the land where they will live happily ever after.
This production of Cinderella premiered May 12, 2000 by Cincinnati Ballet at
the Aronoff Center for the Arts, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Kansas City Ballet premiere, May 9, 2014, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts