Last week, the Russian National Ballet came to Popejoy to perform a rendition of the classic fairy tale “Cinderella.” Part of the Popejoy Presents series at the theater, the performance was characteristic of Russian Ballet: passionate, perfectionistic and awe-inspiring, a reputation that Russian Ballet has cultivated over generations.
The performance began with dances by Cinderella's stepsisters, showing through dance their character and behavior. Staying true to the source material, they pick on Cinderella, blaming her for their wrongdoings, and even though a single word wasn’t said, you could feel and see what they conveyed through their acrobatics.
Being the first ballet I have been to, I was not sure what to expect when I took my seat in the theater. It was not only a pleasant surprise to see an amazing performance, but it proved that the art of ballet deserves more respect that it’s given by the mainstream audience. The sheer agility of the performers would have been enough to sustain the show, while the plot of the story merely seemed like the icing on the cake; a pretty exterior showing a perfectly crafted core that took years practice to perfect.
The performance was flawless save for the quality of the audio early in the performance. The performance’s music was prerecorded, which wasn’t a problem save for the distorted sound that came from the sound system early on. It was distracting, but about 30 minutes into the first act the problem was resolved and the performance continued without a hitch.
The costuming of the dancers came straight from the characterizations of European illustrations, aside from the unitards and leotards that allow for free movement of the dancers. While not entirely historically accurate, and highly abstract due to the nature of the performance, they added a character to the performance that if any other designs were implemented it simply wouldn’t have had the same effect.
The performance of each dancer was phenomenal. It’s well known that ballet dancers are trained from a young age in order to reach the physical requirements to accomplish the various acrobatic moves and being able to stand on the tips of their toes for minutes at a time. It was obvious the main dancers have put their heart and soul into the art as it seemed like every other minute they performed a maneuver that left the audience amazed.
As a novice ballet viewer, it wasn’t completely set in me just how amazing ballet truly is when encountered first hand. The Russian National Ballet’s performance of “Cinderella” is proof that ballet is an artform that needs to be preserved for generations to come to experience the wonder of storytelling and sheer physical strength and skill that makes ballet what it is.
Fin Martinez is the culture editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @FinMartinez.