There is only one word that can come close to describing the performance of “Cinderella” by the Ohio Dance Theater at The Stocker Arts Center in Elyria this past Sunday. That word is “Magical” and there is no doubt that the audience that nearly filled the auditorium was in full agreement.
With stirring music by Igor Stravinsky, perfect lighting by Jeremy Benjamin, dazzling costuming by Carmen Castle and Susan Castle, well appointed sets and classical ballet dancing by the members of the Ohio Dance Theater Company it was a show that delighted from start to finish.
Juliana Freude played Cinderella with compassion and her featured solos were perfectly performed. She was also the envy of all the “little princesses” in the audience that had dressed up for the show. Courtney Jankovic as the Fairy Godmother brought strength and grace to the role with tremendous poise and balance. William Ward was the Prince and his highly acrobatic routines wowed the crowd. Caitlin Burke and Kasha Hilton played the hilarious step-sisters that had the audience roaring with laughter at their antics. Regina Pietraroia was the step-mother who kept the right balance of comedy and seriousness through her shared routines. Jennifer Norris was the hapless Dance Mistress who tried desperately to turn the step-sisters in to fair maidens but with not much success. She also danced as Spring with a youthful flair. Kassandra Lee danced was Summer with a grace and poise that simply took your breath away.
Of special note was the use of young dancers during the performance. Rather than have them lumped in one place without movement, they were allowed to actually show some of their dancing skills during the season’s interlude with the use of synchronized light dance movements.
The opening set was beautiful in its simplicity. A simple door, a bench, a fireplace, a chest, a basket and a roof gable was all but it was just enough to evoke the feeling of a modest home while allowing plenty of room for the dancing. The ballroom on the other hand was lavish with chandeliers, pillars and a fancy entrance way. It had a feeling of richness to it. The crowning jewel of the set was the carriage with its rows of interior lights that had it seemingly glowing. The costuming was richly ornamented and colorful with fancy gowns, fancy dresses, handsome suits as well as humble clothing for Cinderella and the wonderful transformation into her princess dress. The Fairy Godmother also drew oohs and ahhhs as she appeared on stage.
As for the dancing, it was perfection. As is required for Classical Ballet, the women kept perfect Pointe without a bend to the leg or feet, there were lifts, carries, leaps and sweeps galore. The ballroom dance scenes were a swirl of kaleidoscopic color that simply dazzled the eye. Even the facial expressions were superb, from the comical expressions of the step-sisters to the anguish of the prince searching for his lost love to the despair on Cinderella’s face prior to meeting the fairy godmother. Ballet is strongly related to the silent films of old. With no dialog, the story must be told by gesture and facial expression. Ohio Dance Theater is quite professionals in doing this.
There is only one problem with this performance. It was the only performance. It is a shame that a show of this magnitude should only have one shot. What is needed is support for this company that bills itself as “Northeast Ohio’s Professional Ballet Company”. A show like this would do well at PlayhouseSquare on a three or four day run. For a city that is starved for true Classical Ballet, Cleveland should take advantage of having a company of this caliber less than an hour away.
Shooting From The Lip (My Last Words): Cinderella as performed by the Ohio Dance Theatre has it all. Superb Dancing, Colorful Costumes, Great Sets, Comedy, Drama and Romance combine together for over two hours of perfection in execution. I cannot wait for their next performance!
Juliana Freude as Cinderella, Courtney Jankovic as Fairy Godmother, William Ward as the Prince, Caitlin Burke and Kasha Hilton as the Step Sisters, Regina Pietraroia as the Step Mother, Jennifer Jimenez, Jessica Jimenez and Madison Rutherford as the Courtiers, Jennifer Norris as The Dance Mistress and Spring, Kassandra Lee as Summer, Rebecca Fleisher as Fall, Monica Starr as Winter, Madeleine Gurney, Jennifer Jimenez, Jessica Jimenez, Tyveze Littlejohn, Tomahito Mori, Casey Myrick, Amos Oliver III and Madison Rutherford as the Clock Dancers, Madeleine Gurney, Jennifer Jimenez, Jessica Jimenez, Tyveze Littlejohn, Tomahito Mori, Casey Myrick, Amos Oliver III and Madison Rutherford as The Ballroom Couples, Amaris Anderson, Alisha Matheson, Kira Ijiri-Fitzgerald and Emerson Freas Regina Wolf as the Little Fairies, Margaret Deconcini, Kenzie Delaney, Annali Perez, Diana Perez, Gabriela Santiago-Narvaez and Nichole Selzer as the Grass Nymphs.
Choreography and Staging by Denise Gula, Music by Igor Stravinsky, Lighting Design by Jeremy Benjamin, Costume Design by Carmen Castle and Susan Castle, Graphic Design by Kathy Hilton, Cinderella Carriage and Design by Kathy Hilton, Stage Managing by Nancy Brenstuhl, Wardrobe Mistress, Linsay Norris, Administrative Support/Hannah Hammel and Michelle Masek. Artistic Director is Denis Gula, General Manager Megan Cain.
Upcoming not to be missed Performances and Galas:
Ballet, Brauts & Beer
Nov. 14, 6:30 pm
39 S. Main Street, Oberlin OH 44074
Collaboration with Cleveland Women’s Orchestra
Historic Bohemian National Hall
4939 Broadway Ave
Cleveland, OH 44127
December 20, 21 & 22, 2013
Stocker Arts Center
Box Office: 440-366-4040 or 800-995-5222
Dancing with The Stars Gala
March 22, 2014
For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.ohiodancetheatre.org/TICKETS.html or call the Stocker Arts Center
in Elyria, Ohio Box Office at (440) 366-4040 or (800) 995-5222