Review – Cinderella casts her charming ballet spell

2013-09-22 06:00

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Cinderella cast her spell over the audience as golden balls of light rolled over them and around the theatre.

The overture played on the first Saturday of the run – overflowing with little girls in an array of pink fluffy dresses and tutus.

This spring run of the newly named Joburg Ballet is a newly choreographed version of Johann Strauss’ Cinderella.

The company’s creative director, Iain MacDonald, has put in plenty of bells and whistles and the finale required some heavy lifting from Michael Revie and Jin Ho Won.

There was a wobble or two, but it was still a routine that drew gasps from the stalls.

The wobbles were caused primarily by the pair not having enough solid rehearsal time, as Jin Ho is a visiting dancer from South Korea.

Jin Ho exhibited ethereal grace in the role, while Revie was his usual impressive self. Nicola Ferreira was the fairy godmother, fabulously decked out in an intricate silver tutu and crown.

My four-year-old was worried about her lack of a wand, but once she had managed to transform the four mice into horses seemingly without it, that concern was laid to rest.

Kitty Phetla was elegantly nasty as the wicked stepmother and Chase Bosch and Keke Chele as the ugly stepsisters were just the right amount of clown.

The first act was the perfect length – with the curtain dropping before little legs grew restless, but the second (with its lengthy ball scene) was a bit of a wigglefest.

That said, all the children, ranging in age from four to 10 loved it, as did the grannies, grandpas, mums and dads.

The company has created a lot of extra value for patrons in order to grow audiences and it deserves to work.

The glossy programmes are given away free, the foyer was full of arresting photographs of the company’s principal dancers, which are for sale, and, at interval, other dance companies are given a chance to perform.

It’s great fun for both performers and the audience, as the dance styles vary from hip-hop to Bollywood bling, tap and classical.

» Cinderella is on at the Nelson Mandela Theatre in Braamfontein until September 29. Running concurrently at the Tesson Theatre is Celebration 5, a series of short pieces from selected ballets, and new pieces choreographed by members of the company. This ends on September 28.

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