We all know the story; Cinderella, bound to cleaning the house and being excluded from all the privileges her family has access to, falls in love with the handsome prince in a winning display of karma. The shoe fits. It’s a happy ending. However, this classic tale shape shifts with every adaptation, and this is what makes the story different each and every time. For the Disney classic, the fairy godmother is a sweet soul singing “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.” In the ballet, a woman that most turn away as a beggar is treated kindly by Cinderella, leading her to repay her with her own kindness. In each adaptation of this classic tale, we learn something new.
With The Joffrey Ballet’s latest production, the classic tale of Cinderella is turned into a series of dances so magical, I couldn’t miss a moment. In Act I, Principal ballerina Victoria Jaiani conveys Cinderella’s every emotion while never missing a beat, from her melancholy state, to her true generosity with the woman who approaches their home. As the eerie theme plays, we know this won’t be the last we see of this woman. Meanwhile, the stepsisters, expertly played by David Gombert and Rory Hohenstein, keep the comedic flavor bursting throughout the ballet, putting smiles on the faces of adults as well as the youngest of guests. The banter is conveyed wordlessly, with slapstick humor and colorful, flouncy outfits complementing the brassy expressions on their faces.
I’ve seen quite a few Joffrey Ballet productions, and the scenic backdrops and sets were unbelievably impressive for Cinderella. We’re there with Cinderella as she cleans in her home, and then we travel with her into the forest where her fairy godmother begins the glamorous transformation. At the ball, the bold columns and ornate backdrop pulled us into this other world, where we cheered her on and watched romance unfold.
With a lot of sparkle and exquisite footwork, the chemistry between Cinderella and her prince, played by Dylan Gutierrez, is undeniable throughout the ballet. Their dance, as well as the dance of the fairy godmother, April Daly, is mesmerizing, with orchestral music led by Scott Speck as the backdrop.
The third act draws us in; we’re quickly enveloped in a world full of white sparkly dresses and wands that grant wishes. This production of Cinderella reminds us that magic surrounds us, if we only know where to look.
Throughout the ballet, the child seated behind me added her own commentary, which I found amusing (while her mother tried to tell her to wait until later to chat). “She’s so sparkly!” she exclaimed, as later, glittery gold pieces rained down from the set as Cinderella and her prince performed their dance and the ballet wound to a close. With gorgeous sets, pristine dances, and a mesmerizing take on a classic tale, the Joffrey Ballet’s adaptation of Cinderella continued to shine on long after the curtain closed.
The production of Cinderella will run until Monday, May 22. The show is approximately two hours and 10 minutes in length, with a brief intermission and a short pause included. Purchase tickets directly from the Joffrey Ballet’s website, or call (312) 386-8905. Tickets are available in varying price tiers.