The world famous Russian National Ballet Theatre visited the University of Connecticut on Thursday night for a performance of what is arguably the world’s best known fairy tale, Charles Perrault’s “Cinderella.”
Beginning at 7:30 pm, the show featured 50 dancers of the Russian National Ballet Theatre, including both men and women, each of whom performed at the highest levels of excellence. Not a single dancer, as far as I was able to tell, took a step out of line throughout the performance. The long hours of practice made themselves apparent.
Though the choreography of the dance was original, it was influenced by the choreography of Rostislav Zakharov, who originally choreographed “Cinderella” in 1945.
Playing the lead role of Cinderella was Maria Kluyeva, who preformed remarkably as the story’s heroine. There are no words to describe her on stage save one: elegant. She seemed to put her entire being into her performance, in a style that one would expect could only come from channeling her own life experiences.
Opposite her was Azamat Askarov as the Prince, who despite his large frame, moved quickly and gracefully across Jorgensen’s large stage.
Other major roles included Evgeniy Rudakov as the stepmother, Elena Khorosheva and Natalia Ivanova as the stepsisters, Olga Gudkova as the fairy godmother and Vladimir Tapharov as the jester.
The show was quite exciting, featuring various effects like smoke machines and intense light work to set the various scenes. For example, upon the arrival of the Fairy Godmother, the light on the stage was given a blue tint in order to give the scene a mystical feeling. It was small details like that, which separated this ballet from others of its type, showing why the RNBT is renowned worldwide.
Although certainly not the center of attention, the costumes worn by each performer were quite beautiful. My favorite was Cinderella’s dress, although the outfits worn by the stepsisters were glamorous as well.
The musical side of the show was so well done that at times it seemed to overshadow the dancing. Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, who was said to have been inspired by Cinderella’s character, composed the show’s score. Needless to say, it complimented the dancing beautifully, although it was unfortunate (yet understandable) that the music was not performed live.
The RNBT was originally known as the Soviet National Ballet, established in Moscow in the late 1980s under Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika reform period. Many of the dancers in the troupe have been members since its inception. They have performed at UConn previously for a showing of, “Sleeping Beauty,” (another story written by Perrault) in 2013 and Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake,” in 2006.
Anyone interested in learning more about the RNBT can find their management page at http://www.cami.com/?webid=418.