Writers from Philadelphia Futures Review Cinderella

PHILADELPHIA FUTURES

Reviews of Cinderella

Pennsylvania Ballet

Performed on October 22, 2016

Angie Mohammad
Northeast High School
Class of 2018

The Pennsylvania Ballet has done it again. On Saturday October 22, 2016 I had the pleasure of going see their rendition of Cinderella at the Academy of Music. The choreographer Ben Stevenson, the costume designers Patty Greer McGarity and Virginia Vogel, and the set designers Thomas Boyd and Steven Rubin had a vision of beauty and elegance when creating this rendition of Cinderella. The dancers in the Pennsylvania Ballet troupe made their visions come alive on stage.

Like every little girl, I watched the Disney movie Cinderella growing up. It taught us that we should always be kind no matter what, be brave and take chances, always believe in ourselves, and to never stop dreaming. Going to see this story performed with no words I thought I would not be able to get the same lessons out of it. I thought that the story of Cinderella would be ruined for me. These thoughts quickly dissolved when the first act began. I realized  how these dancers convey the emotions and the story accurately without words in the way they danced and their facial expressions, and in the way that their costumes told the story for them. From the horrid step sisters and evil step mother to the beautiful fairy godmother and her seasonal fairies, everyone had a part and it was crystal clear though their costumes if they were there to help or harm Cinderella, they did not need words.

Act Two showed the athleticism and elegance of the dancers, especially the Jester. When the curtains rise we are at the ball and the Jester is welcoming the guests and the prince while trying to get their attention away from the hideous step sisters. They are suddenly interrupted when the beautiful cinderella comes and instantly the prince falls in love. They share a dance alone and the connection is so evident in their movements, you can see the love in their air. They made it seem so beautiful and lovely, they did not need words.


Act Three centers on the quest to find to whom the glass slipper belongs. The facial expressions told it all from the second the curtains rose and the prince walked in. The stepsisters were excited to force their feet into the slipper and claim the prince, the prince was in distress because he needs his princess, Cinderella is nervous and does not want to get caught, the stepmother is hopeful that one of her daughters get to marry the prince, and the jester is finding this whole ordeal amusing. The facial expressions set the scene and kept it going, they did not need words.

Viana Zamis
Northeast High School
Class of 2018

Hosted at Academy of Music, the performance of Cinderella was beautiful, passionate, and very elegant. What was really intriguing was how the story and major themes were still conveyed through the amazing dancing and special effects. The combination of dance and special effect transitions allowed the audience to feel as if they were part of the story and put themselves in the character’s shoes, to have similar feelings as them. With the different lighting, the scenes were brought to life, the audience was able to experience the same emotions as the characters, and the true personalities of each of these characters were revealed phenomenally.

Although all the lighting effects were astonishing, what really struck with me was in Act 1, during the Fairy Godmother’s enchanting entrance, her realm of high characteristics was brought to life through the dancing and special effects. It’s not just about beauty without, but beauty within. Through the dancing, the characters were foretold in their comedy, their distress, their endurance, and their strength and weaknesses. The luxurious special effects made the story more realistic and left a heartfelt feeling, especially when the stepsisters, in Act 1, are getting prepared for the ball, but Cinderella is left to ponder in sadness alone. The different lighting effects and backgrounds showed the mystery in the character’s silent voice. The facial expressions and exaggerated actions made it look not just fantasized, and more realistic. The mutual love between Cinderella and Prince Charming is not left in suspense, but allowed the audience to think and use their imagination to visualize the setting and the different aspect of each act.

In Act 2, mysterious yet calm music accompanies the remarkably stunning entrance of Cinderella. This was a breathtaking scene that truly revealed what was going in Cinderella’s heart and mind at the ball. Through the dancing and special effects, there was a more intense and engaging performance because I felt heart-touching emotions, not just thoughts in my head. While reminiscing on the simplicity and modesty, it was still an outstanding, astonishing ballet.

The smooth transitions allowed more room for dancing, so that the special effects could add a touch of sweetness to the different scenes. It is important to have a pleasant and lovely choreography, but the special effects, the lighting and the background setting on the stage, left a  vivid impression. Rather than a plain and simple ballet, the attractive backgrounds, the complex designs, the flow of different ensembles, influenced the drama and the choreography. The appearance of the stage had an effect on the unfolding of the story because the glamorous physique of the characters were revealed, the plot twists were surprising, the actions of these characters provoked wonder and were delightful to watch. I recommend this performance without regrets.

Kymble Clark
Central High School
Class of 2018

The ballet Cinderella choreographed by Angel Corella and performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet was a gorgeous rendition that retold the classic tale of a generous girl and her journey on becoming a princess. However in this retelling, there are numerous differences compared to the beloved Cinderella movie by Disney. From the characters introduced to the events in the plot, this ballet differed from the movie in several significant ways. Early in the performance, the main difference that caught my attention was the way in which the stepsisters were portrayed.

Cinderella’s two stepsisters, played by Charles Askegard and Ian Hussey, were mainly the comedic aspect of the ballet, and these characters made the whole experience fun and lively. The ugly stepsisters were played by men. With this change comes the topic of body image pertaining to the roles/personalities of certain characters within ballet. The way Askegard and Hussey portrayed the stepsisters also speaks to the way in which antagonistic characters are usually shown in theatre. The stepsisters were clumsy, aloof, and loud. To me, this aspect of the performance gives insight on how “bad” and “dumb” characters are often shown in entertainment. Askegard and Hussey portrayed the two stepsisters marvelously well. The comedic timing was executed perfectly. It was rather interesting to witness the contrast of the stepsisters compared to everyone else on stage. Ballet is often considered to be this frivolous, elegant, pristine art form yet the sister were the exact opposite. The way they moved where clunky and unwieldy to which the beautiful music added to that portrayal of stupidity and clumsiness. The two dancers revealed to me the fun side to the ballet.

Each character, good or bad, was adorned by luxurious costumes. Throughout the play Cinderella was covered head to toe in sparkling, glowing, and lavish drapes, even if they were rags. The dancer portraying Cinderella, So Jung Shin, not only executed each dance movement effortlessly, but made her character shine brighter than the lights cast upon the stage. With her petite body, she danced across the stage with grace and elegance. Her love interest, the prince, played by Jack Thomas, dominated the stage with precise yet swift movements that complimented Cinderella’s soft and elegant movements. In contrast to these characters and many others, the ballet presented two comical characters, the stepsisters, to indirectly illustrate the message of idealistic body.

As I walked away after the performance, I was left with the feeling I had just seen a gorgeous retelling of the age old tale.

Thamar Barthelemy

Northeast High School

Class of 2018

   On October 22, 2016, I was eager and thrilled to witness Cinderella, a ballet by Angel Corella at the Academy of Music. The story is a classic and enduring fairy tale that has been performed around the world. It was extraordinary, humorous, and captivating. The thing that stood out most to me was the costumes because they reflected the main character’s personality thoroughly.

For instance, the stepsisters costumes were vibrant colors, fluffy, over-sized, and worn with the wrong colored shoes. Their outfit demonstrated how discombobulated and immature they were. No adult in the right state of mind would ever wear such crazy outfits at that stage of their life. The stepsisters’ costumes displayed their personality clearly without missing a beat.

Other examples of the wonderful costumes were Cinderella’s ball costume and her wedding dress. Both costumes displayed her caring, elegant, sophisticated personality. The ball costume was a ballet tutu that was a lighter shade of pink with rhinestones around it. At the wedding, her dress left everyone speechless because it was remarkable. There as the white tutu with the long veil that was attach to the shiny silver tiara. It was everything that I imagined and more.   


The Cinderella ballet is definitely a must see. It is one of those performances that the whole family can attend and have a splendid time. It is a well-known story, but even so, expect to be on the edge of your seat throughout the entire performance.  

Raphael Keele

Northeast High School
Class of 2018

Cinderella, performed by the Pennsylvania Ballet, was a twist from the common told fairy tale and the Disney adaptation. In the Disney adaptation there were several main characters: the Stepmother, the Stepsisters, Cinderella, the Prince and the Fairy Godmother. However in this rendition of the story, there were more characters: Cinderella’s father, the Jester, and four seasonal fairies that accompanied the Fairy Godmother. Each of these characters served a different purpose.


In the exposition of the ballet, the main characters were introduced. We see Cinderella sweeping the floor, and we see her gaudy stepsisters horseplaying while her stepmother entertains their foolishness. All the while the father remains oblivious to the way that the stepsisters treat each other, and how Cinderella is left out and mistreated by the stepsisters. The love for his daughter is very evident, and they bond together reminiscing when her mother was alive, eventually being interrupted by the stepsisters.


In the ballet, the stepsisters played a bigger role in oppressing Cinderella than they did in the movie. They were also much more gaudy and awkward, wearing clothes that didn’t fit with the rest of the cast, and not embracing femininity and grace in the way that Cinderella and the stepmother do. They were very active in separating Cinderella from her father at all costs, and made sure to exclude Cinderella from all of their activities.


The Fairy Godmother arrives as a homeless person, similar to the Greek myth of Baucis and Philemon, who let in the Greek gods, Zeus and Hermes, when they were dressed as homeless people. The stepmother and the stepsisters all stand in fear, while the father and Cinderella tend to her needs. Soon after she leaves the invitations to the Royal Ball arrives, and when the stepsisters and stepmother leave to attend, the Fairy Godmother is revealed, followed by the aid of four dragonflies representing fairies for every season.

Before Cinderella arrives at the ball, the Jester appears. He is stunning, elegant, graceful and carefree, bringing joy to the ball before the celebration commences. His dancing and elegant technique led me to confuse him with the Prince at first. Throughout the ball, he aids the Prince, as Cinderella’s stepsisters and stepmother arrives. They arrive wearing bright, over the top dresses and, masks covering their faces. When the stepsisters are revealed, the people at the ball are appalled, and they are disturbed by their out of sync dancing.


Overall, this rendition of Cinderella had many surprises, it was one of the best retellings of the classic story that I’ve ever seen. All of it was retold in such an astounding and original way, without even using words.

Nathaly Rodriguez
Northeast High School
October 24, 2016

Saturday, October 22, 2016, I watched the glorious performance of Cinderella at the Academy of Music as directed by Angel Corella. It was a humorous, yet heart warming experience for me. The performance was based off the classic tale. Cinderella, played by So Jung Shin, lives with her stepmother, stepsisters, and her father. With the help of her Fairy Godmother, and in this rendition, the four season fairies, Cinderella attends the ball where she meets her prince, played by Jack Thomas. I believe that a ballet like this would not be complete without the costumes, as the costumes helped the audience understand who is who and what is going on.


The comical stepsisters, played by Charles Askegard and Ian Hussey, continuously filled the crowd with laughter, young and old alike. Their costumes were cluttered and had an odd color combination of orange, yellow, and purple to accentuate how gawky and awkward they are. In addition, their costumes seemed to be moving and falling all around, similar to the dancers. In turn, this aided the dancers to convey how truly clumsy they are.

Another character that was just as humorous was the jester, played by Alexander Peter.  His costume was vibrant, with a white and gold combination, which complimented his enthusiastic charisma.  The energetic costume reflected the usual loose jester which aided to reveal how impressively high the jester’s jump were.


Although there was a humorous side to the ballet, I saw the elegance as well. Take the graceful Fairy Godmother who was played by Dayesi Torriente. She wore a sparkling white knee length tutu accompanied by a silver crown that glistened as she danced. Her graceful turns and dance movements displayed how elegant the Fairy Godmother is.

It was troublesome to believe the Fairy Godmother was once dressed as a beggar in green-black rags before. Even Cinderella, who started in rags at first conveyed that she was an elegant character; in fact, she proved she was meant to be a princess. After Cinderella received her gifts and revealed her sparkling light pink costume the message was clear that Cinderella was more than a servant. At the end of the performance Cinderella and the prince are to be married off and Cinderella’s costume was gorgeous sparkling white and vibrant to illustrate Cinderella’s pure and resilient attitude.


The performance was spectacular, and the dancers, without argument, earned their applause. The costumes, the set, and the dancers all came together and together these elements did a  wonderful job of conveying Cinderella’s story.

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